Vanilla Upstairs– NEW MENU FOCUS: EARTH AND SEA
Vanilla Lounge, located in the bustling Eaton Mall in Oakleigh, has long been a firm favourite with locals, with queues down the street on Friday and Saturday nights, and a bakery listed by The Age as one of the Top 10 in Melbourne.
The World Loves Melbourne was invited to a tasting of the Vanilla menu and we were gobsmacked. This was our first time at Vanilla and were amazed by this foodie haven in Oakleigh; a hub of conviviality and excellence. When you walk in you feel like you are embraced as part of the family! Thanasis the patriach of the family was in fine form and a charming host with the family all involved in this extraordinary business. .
A year ago the team behind Vanilla took their success to another level by adding a stunning modern upstairs dining room, and they haven’t looked back, operating at capacity every weekend.
Vanilla Upstairs Vanilla Upstairs is thrilled to now have Chef Oresti at the helm in the state of the art kitchen. Oresti graduated from the prestigious culinary school CHEF D’ OEUVRE in Athens, Greece and went on to work in leading Athenian restaurants and with celebrated chefs. Now at Vanilla Upstairs, Oresti is making the most of the Josper oven, experimenting with traditional flavours and simple Greek ingredients, combining them with modern molecular techniques.
The results are simply amazing – think octopus carpaccio, dolmades stuffed with delicate mousse, Josper baked calamari with tarama spheres, and tahini mouse with sesame toffee for dessert. Owner Tia Spanos Tsonis: “At Vanilla Upstairs, we take the opportunity to celebrate dishes that are not on the regular menu, and give our customers the opportunity to try something different every week through the specials.
White tarma atop an olive rusk was delightful. A flavour and texture hit.
Black ink cuttlefish soup with a potato foam was spectacular; a gourmet latte style presentation and big on flavour!
The amazing food kept coming from the kitchen including Haloumi and Dolmades stuffed with rice mousse and Greek yoghurt on the side, and Octopus Carpaccio (not in picture and we ate it fast!).
Chef Oresti's Greek salad with a twist!
This is a small scene from a packed Wednesday restaurant on a miserable raining night in Melbourne. This place hums!
Greek wines were a highlight; we feel they are a perfect match with food.
Josper oven baby! And how good is Josper baked fresh calamari with white and black tsaziki spheres.
And the locals are all over the Moussaka!
Vanilla Upstairs brought out courses not on our menu! Hospitality was exceptional.
Indulgence for the colder months is this Pan fried liver with ricotta and butter.
A highlight was this Josper grilled greek style chicken.
A specialty is Peirnili; a bread boat with beef mince, egg, and goat pastourma and kaseri cheese.
Kleftiko lamb parcels roasted with garlic, onion, lemon, potatoes and herbs in mini tortillas.
Men's business; Arthur and Danny Tonin aka Danny Pasta, a pasta and Italian foodie legend of Melbourne.
A highlight was Kazan dipi with kaimaki ice cream and pistachio nuts.
Tahini mousse with sesame toffee crisps.
Applause for the Chefs!
At the core of Vanilla’s ethos is a blend of our Greek heritage and modern techniques, and this is reflected in Oresti ‘s beautiful food.” Beverages manager Sheridan is also shining star in her own right, a career hospitality worker who cut her teeth at Stokehouse, and went on to join the opening team at Crown Casino. She has worked internationally in London, France and Italy. Her knowledge of the unique array of Greek wines, which will be served with dinner on the 25th, will have you practicing your pronunciation of ‘Assyrtiko’ so you can ask for another glass.
She also makes a mean cocktail. Vanilla Upstairs offers a premium dining space, and unlike anything else in the area, it’s grown-up, sophisticated and inviting, complete with brass bar, a large veranda, indoor fireplace and a beautiful dark-wood ambience. There’s a range of Mediterranean-inspired cocktails, beer on tap, a huge selection of local and international wines, and the affordable cuisine is prepared with local produce, proudly supporting local businesses, creating great relationships and furthering the sense of community of which they are so proud. Vanilla Lounge is famous for its long family history in hospitality.
Owners Arthur and Helen Spanos ran the famed Medallion Café, an institution in the Greek community in Melbourne’s original ‘Greek Precinct’ in Lonsdale St, and a popular destination for young and old Greek Australians, as well as visitors from Greece, and newly-arrived immigrants. Arthur and Helen’s children (and their spouses) now run the Vanilla Lounge, and as legend has it, many original patrons of the Medallion Café now have grown-up children who visit Vanilla Lounge on a regular basis. They want to make you part of the family. Come and join them! http://vanillalounge.com.au/vanilla-upstairs/ 17-21Eaton Mall, Oakleigh, 3166