Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stalactites, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

Is there a more overpriced cuisine in Melbourne than Greek?  I am not talking about high end places here. I am talking about entry-level, call in and get a quick, cheap and tasty meal cafes or restaurants.

Lamb souvlaki plate

A couple of weeks ago I found a copy of the 1992-93 Age Cheap Eats Guide in a second hand book store. It cost me a whole dollar but I was curious as to how many places listed then were still in existence (looked to be a dozen or so). One of the things that really stood out though was the decline in the number of French and especially Greek eateries included. There were 15 Greek cafes and restaurants listed in the 1992-93 cheap eats, three in the 2009 edition, one of which I know and wouldn't consider a cheap eat and the other two which I don't know but which sounded more like upmarket milk bars.

Calamari and salad

To me Stalactites is a prime example of an overpriced Greek café. From the outside it looks like it should be okay, located in the middle of the city, brightly lit, almost always busy, open 24 hours every day.

The food itself is not good but not terrible. My major beef is how expensive it is for what you get. A plate with a few chips, a bit of Greek style salad, and some over cooked lamb pieces from the spit or calamari, combined with a piece of baklava with a scoop of ice cream on the side, should not cost over $30. That’s the sort of price I'd expect to pay at a very good café or maybe a lower middle-end restaurant.


To me the food at Stalactites is similar in quality to a reasonable local fish and chip/kebab shop but at double the price. It just does not represent good value for money.

It's sometimes hard to work out why places remain popular when the quality doesn't justify the price. I wonder if it is a kind of entropy, that the Greek restaurants in Melbourne were once both good and cheap and people have continued on going even when that's no longer the case.

Crowded, noisy, centrally located, open 24 hours, tackily decorated, average food, overpriced. I won't be returning unless dying for a takeaway kebab at two o'clock in the morning.

Ambience - 5.5
Service - 6.5
Food - 6
Price - 4

183 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9663 3316

1 comment:

Restaurant In Melbourne said...

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