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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove

Megas vromiko gyro with loukaniko, feta, egg and loukoumades at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove

EDIT: Kefi has closed

We've had bacon with pancakes and fried chicken with waffles, but what about a gyros with sausage, egg and... a syrup-soaked donut? It's the kind of madcap offering that puts a glint in the eye of David Tsirekas. The Greek chef - ex-Perama and ex-Xanthi - is back in the 'burbs and at the forefront of a gyros tidal wave that seems to be sweeping across Sydney.

Pork souvlaki kalamaki on charcoal at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Pork souvlaki kalamaki on the charcoal barbecue $4.50 per skewer

Kefi's Souvlaki Bar has prime position on Kingsgrove Road, just a few shops down from Kingsgrove train station. The dine-in Kefi Tavern opened next door about a month ago, but on a weekend lunchtime, most locals are more interested in takeaway souvlaki. The queue at the register is constant. Order and pay at the cashier and then hover close by until your name is called.

Gyros spits at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Giant gyros spits

There are only three tables inside but if the weather's fine, the outdoor tables are just as pleasant, even if the view is mostly of passing traffic. While you wait for your order, you can spy on everything happening in the kitchen, set up behind panes of glass. The slowly rotating giant gyros spits are almost hypnotic to look at.

Pork gyro at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Pork gyro $8

The menu is surprisingly extensive given the market is mostly takeaway. Calamari, octopus, king prawns, pork neck and haloumi are all available on the barbecue grill. We'll have to come back next time for the kokoretsi ($42), a traditional dish of lamb intestines wrapped around a mix of offal.

We're all about the gyro today though, variations of protein wrapped up in a fluffy rounds of warm fresh pita bread with salad. The classic gyro comes with pork, chicken or lamb. We can't decide which one to choose until the cashier says "get the pork. It's the best one".

She's on the money. The pork is succulent and juicy, jammed into a handheld torpedo of pita bread, tomato, onion, parsley and several hot chips for crunch. Squiggles of tzatziki and their housemade mustard mayo add zing.

Soft shell crab gyro and pork belly baklava gyros at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Soft shell crab gyro $9.50
and pork belly baklava gyro $9.50

They do non-standard issue gyros here too. Haloumi pita is perfect for vegetarians, wrapped up with olive tapenade and honey peppered figs. We're onto the soft shell crab version, and the pork belly baklava one too.

Soft shell crab gyro at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Soft shell crab gyro $9.50

I had doubts about the idea of a soft shell crab gyro but after one bite, I'm a convert. The soft shell crab is fleshy and sweet with a mouthwatering crunch. They're generous with it too. The soft shell crab is packed for the entire length of the pita bread.

The accompanying "Greekslaw" is a little on the sweet side, with a few too many sultanas for my liking, but the sprigs of coriander add a welcome freshness.

Pork belly baklava gyros at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Pork belly baklava gyro $9.50

David's signature pork belly baklava lives on. Where it was a fancy plated dish at Xanthi, here it's been deconstructed and taken on a backpacker's holiday. The pork belly baklava gyro has all the familiar components of its predecessor: slow roasted pork belly, date and pistachio paste and glorious tiles of crackling on top. The filo sheets are toasted shards of flaky pastry. Apple mastic mayo brings everything together.

It all combines into one wild party of textures. You kinda feel like you need a beer with this one. If you're anything like me, you'll be saving the crackling for last.

Megas vromiko gyro with loukaniko, feta, egg and loukoumades at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Megas vromiko $11
with regular fries $4.50
BBQ loukaniko, feta, sunny side up egg, chips, mustard mayo, roasted capsicum sauce and two loukoumades balls

Every now and then, David adds a weekend special to the menu. We manage to swing by during his vromiko offer. The vromiko is like a Greek breakfast wrap - slices of spicy loukaniko sausage (made from pork and lamb), a sunny side egg, crumbled feta and chips.

The megas vromiko shifts everything up a gear with the inclusion of two loukoumades donut balls. Sure these are usually eaten as dessert, but somehow the syrup soaked donuts work brilliantly against the backdrop of meat, salt and egg. The roasted capsicum sauce adds a smoky sweet harmony.

"It's the perfect cure for hangovers," we're told, when the server behind the counter hands across our order.

Loukoumades donuts and baklava ice cream dessert at Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove
Kefi's loukoumades $6 for 4 pieces
and baklava ice cream

We'd dropped by Kefi anonymously and unannounced (my usual modus operandi), but David spots us and recognises me from a previous event I'd attended. Just when we'd been contemplating dessert, David appears at our table bearing complimentary sweets.

The loukoumades are fresh from the fryer, hot and fluffy with a light dousing of syrup that doesn't overwhelm the palate. I've had loukoumades a couple of times before, but these are some of the best I've had, not doughy nor rubbery nor sickly sweet. You could easily eat several of these in one sitting. The light dusting of crushed pistachio gives a great textural counter.

You can order David's other signature dish, the baklava ice cream at the tavern next door ($12.50) but it isn't usually available from the souvlaki bar. That's a shame because it works a treat after several gyros, the cool vanilla ice cream sandwiched around a filling of baklava nuts and syrup, then drizzled with condensed milk.

There's a good mix of Greek tradition here with room for modern twists to keep everyone on their toes. To keep up-to-date with David's latest specials, follow @dtsirekas on Instagram.

Kefi Souvlaki Bar, Kingsgrove

Kefi Greek Tavern on Urbanspoon

Kefi Souvlaki and Pizza Bar (CLOSED)
1/231 Kingsgrove Road, Kingsgrove, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9554 4444

Opening hours:
Tuesday and Wednesday 11am-10pm 
Thursday to Saturday 11am- 11pm
Sunday 11am-10pm 
Closed Mondays

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Greek - Diethnes, Sydney
Greek - Traditional Gyradiko, Bexley
Greek - Yiamas Greek Taverna, St Peters
24 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/14/2014 01:30:00 am


  • At 9/14/2014 1:47 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    ah i have missed david's pork belly baklava so will def have to get there stat and try that gyro!!

  • At 9/14/2014 9:16 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Eleni, another whopper of a review! I swear you're secretly Greek and haven't told me. Love the souvlaki...especially the "vromiko".

  • At 9/14/2014 9:24 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    That pork belly gyro!! I want the gyro with syrup soaked donut too!

  • At 9/14/2014 9:49 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    Pork belly baklava! Soft shell crab gyros! I love that some of the best food is happening in the burbs right now. Doughnuts & meat are magical in my book!

  • At 9/14/2014 1:14 pm, Blogger gaby @ lateraleating said…

    Definitely unorthodox Greek! I'm keen on trying the traditional offal options.

  • At 9/14/2014 3:48 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Its great to read this helen because we were just talking about going and noqw I know what to expect. A doughnut Gyros! Wow

  • At 9/14/2014 6:44 pm, Blogger Sherrie @ Crystal Noir said…

    Looks like you've been on a gryos bender! Mm, digging the look of adding those syrup soaked donuts to the wrap - would imagine it to function like maple syrup, yum!

  • At 9/14/2014 7:37 pm, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Wowsers - what a menu! Definitely want the pork belly baklava one and the ss crab one sure sounds good too (pass on the loukoumades gyro...)

  • At 9/14/2014 8:13 pm, Anonymous Michael @ I'm Still Hungry said…

    How do the gyros here compare to Gyradiko? Kefi looks pretty comparable, if not even better!

  • At 9/15/2014 7:42 am, Anonymous john | heneedsfood said…

    Greek with a twist. I love it. And the soft shell crab gyro would probably be my first pick!

  • At 9/15/2014 10:44 am, Blogger Roo Food said…

    I was so close to popping in myself yesterday. So need to get there this week. I want to try the donuts in a gyros!

  • At 9/15/2014 11:15 am, Anonymous Isaac (@iFat23) said…

    Good God, I need these to souv my aching stomach.

  • At 9/15/2014 11:31 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    yay so good to see that the pork belly baklava lives on, even if it's in gyros form! The loukoumades look amazing

  • At 9/15/2014 9:14 pm, Blogger Annie said…

    been seeing lots of gyro eateries opening up around Sydney suburbs lately. good to see that David Tsirekas is still going strong post-Xanthi

  • At 9/15/2014 11:38 pm, Anonymous Felicia @ Next Stop: Food said…

    Oh my.. just reading about the pork belly gyro made my tummy growl!

  • At 9/16/2014 8:23 am, Anonymous Martine @ Chompchomp said…

    Wow these gyros look so creative and interesting! I have never seen anywhere serve anything but the traditional types and would love to try these. The problem is you would want to try so many!!!

  • At 9/16/2014 4:01 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    Going off your post and trying to ignore the reviews on Urbanspoon..it looks as though Kefi is worth a try. I am still on the hunt for amazing Souvlaki in Sydney.


  • At 9/16/2014 11:04 pm, Anonymous Amanda @ Gourmanda said…

    My goodness, I am so impressed by the idea of donuts in a gyro! What an amazing combination!

  • At 9/16/2014 11:49 pm, Anonymous Gourmet Getaways said…

    My eyes widened seeing this story. Why, these are all my favourites!!! Thanks for sharing :)

    Gourmet Getaways

  • At 9/17/2014 10:46 am, Blogger Cassie | Journey From Within said…

    say what? pork belly?
    im so there
    aside from the fact that there is also baklava ice cream!!

  • At 9/17/2014 10:52 pm, Anonymous Chris @ MAB vs Food said…

    Ah what? They do the baklava ice cream takeaway too!! Loukamathes, chips and fried egg in a gyros, that sounds so crazy but I still want it!

  • At 9/19/2014 3:58 pm, Anonymous Phuoc'n Delicious said…

    Oooph!! Good to hear that David Tsirekas lives on. And I'm uber happy to see that the baklava ice cream and pork belly baklava is still around. My mouth is watering uncontrollably at the moment. I need a gyros!

  • At 9/24/2014 7:53 pm, Blogger Sarah said…

    That place looks like so much fun! I love all the inventive different gyros he's making. Put me down for the pork belly baklava one, plus the chips! :)

    xox Sarah

  • At 4/05/2015 11:49 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love the pork baklava gyros. Restaurant quality food at take-away prices. Other choices also high standard. All staff friendly, courteous and helpful.


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