We don’t usually go to Greek restaurants, but our experience so far (Gazi) has been pretty good and Alpha is no exception.
Conveniently close to Sydney CBD (and only a few minutes away from work), we visited on a Thursday lunch at noon. The place was relatively empty, but quickly filled up with business men and women.
- Website: http://alpharestaurant.com.au/
- Address: 238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney NSW 2000 (nearest train station is Town Hall)
- Call: (02) 9098 1111
- Bookings: recommended (note, bookings not available for breakfast), online
- Open: breakfast (M-F, 7.30-10.30am), lunch (daily 12-3pm), dinner (Mon to Sat 6-10pm, Sun 5-pm)
- Chef: Peter Conistis
- 10% surcharge for groups of 10+ people
First up, the decor in here is really beautiful. The white automatic double doors open up to urns for putting your umbrellas and high ceilings lit up by lights in woven baskets.
Alpha has a lot of tables set up, including lounge seats, or circular tables that remind me of Chinese restaurants where you can see and talk to everyone.
Service is good. But once the place filled up for lunch, it became a bit difficult to hail down a waiter for the bill and to pay. We had to ask twice, but I suspect the first person we asked actually worked in the Foodstore, rather than the restaurant (we later saw her at the Foodstore counter). In this respect, they were a bit slow, but otherwise everything else was great.
My suggestion? Come early – like noon.
Onto the food:
The menus can be viewed on their website, and like most Greek restaurants, they have a pretty wide menu.
Let’s just go straight to their signature dish, which D2D was very eager to try since it features his favourite vegetable (and my less favourite): EGGPLANT.
This is not really a “moussaka” per se, but it’s really delicious nonetheless. Essentially it’s stacked eggplant, topped with tomato salsa and seared scallops in between. In addition, the plate is circled by fish roe. Yes, fish roe and scallops! It totally makes up for the eggplant, which I’m not a fan of.
In fact, D2D was all too eager to grab the rest of my eggplant when I said the skin was weird… Oh well, at least we were both happy with the different parts of this dish! Is it expensive at $27? Perhaps, but it’s worth a try.
Funnily enough, someone took an Instagram of this same dish and won the Alpha competition on the same day that we went! If only I had posted my moussaka photo a bit earlier, haha.
This is a bit cheaper at $14, and is wonderfully fresh. I always find Greek salads are full of interesting flavours and collections of vegetables. In this, there were peeled orange pieces – yum. But I probably would order something different to try next time I come.
While we were waiting for our food, we got a bit worried that we hadn’t ordered enough. Plus we kept watching all the other tables order bread and dips. So we caved…
You get a lot of pita bread. I warn you now – but I also warn you that the bread is very yummy. It’s warm and drizzled with olive oil and herbs. I’m not sure what dip we got – we opted instead to ask the waiter which was their recommendation and just went with that. It was pretty good and they give you a pretty big pot of it.
We only ordered 1 dip, but a few tables around us had a number of dips.
The lamb ribs were also delicious and tender, and was pretty easy to slip off the bone. This dish also comes with a dip.
All in all, the lunch came to $74 for two, which is a bit more on the expensive side. We were a bit too full by the end, and probably could have foregone the ocean trout dish.
Next door to Alpha is their Foodstore. This is open Mon to Fri from 7.30am to late and features artisan Greek products, as well as coffee, cakes and pastries. Everything looks really good but unfortunately we’re a bit too full! Maybe next time…
What else is around:
Alpha is very centrally located, so there is a host of places in Town Hall that are within walking distance including Hyde Park, QVB, Galeries Victoria, Pitt Street Mall and more.
Perhaps after a filling lunch at Alpha, you can head off for some ‘cardio’ shopping…