High ranking Masterchef contestant, Philip Vakos and his business partner, restaurateur John Ghionis from Trapezi are delighted to announce a new hospitality partnership, Spitiko Restaurant, 270 Park Street, South Melbourne.

Cooking from the heart, hearth and the spit, Spitiko (Spee-tee-Koh) serves food that Yiayia would make, delicious home cooked traditional Greek dishes, but with a contemporary interpretation.

Spitiko dishes are inspired by all regions of Greece and Cyprus, including the origin of the boys families, Crete, Peloponnese and Chalkidiki, drawing also from their own experiences growing up Greek in Australia.

As the name would suggest, Spitiko serves whole beasts that are slowly roasted over a charcoal mallee root grill, imparting a unique flavor. Whole suckling pigs and lambs are often the -roast du jour' and the souvlaki bar & take away menu at the front of the restaurant does a terrific trade in traditional mini soulavakia with hand cut chips, No Lettuce!

Spitiko seats up to 114 with indoor, bar and outdoor seating and has been opened for three months in its current guise.

Philip Vakos became famous on Masterchef Australia where he made it into the top 24 final contestants in the second series, 2010. Interestingly, Philip is only one of the few Masterchef contestants who have gone on to open his own restaurant. You will find him most nights manning the pass directing his chefs in the serving of food he has prepared earlier.

Says Philip: 'I have never been a chef that serves up fancy sands and foams but we have an ouzo pannacota that I serve, topped with watermelon and cucumber and a watermelon martini but with a twist of feta, that is quite a unique drink. The flavor combinations may be slightly startling at first but they are certainly very harmonious and well thought through".

John Ghionis, of the popular Trapezi restaurant in Fairfield, says that Greek food is centered on family and sharing which Spitiko restaurant epitomizes wholeheartedly (minus the plate smashing).

With the ethos of -make our home yours' Spitiko has a welcoming ambience with pictures of Philip and John's family posted on the walls, one really does feel like a part of a larger family and community when walking into Spitiko. The restaurant serves family sized dishes such as Pastitsio, tomato braised (kokkinisto) kid goat, specialized whole lamb on a spit every Thursday along with whole suckling pigs (cooked to order), lemon roasted potatoes, tangy Greek village salad (No lettuce!) and traditional loukoumades with greek inspired frozen desserts such as Mastich yogurt, halva and fig ice cream.

Not surprisingly, Philip and John are passionate about supporting Greek brands and produce. Not only the olive oil but the soft drinks (Loux and Epsa brands), mineral water (Ioli), chocolates (Ion), beer (Fix lager) and wines that have been selected from different regions of Greece. Most of the ingredients compliment the fresh produce Victoria is famous for.

Says John: 'Melbourne is the largest Greek speaking city outside of Greece and we are doing what we can in our small way to support Greek brands, industry and our cousins back home".