Six years ago Steve Lamprianos and his wife Marianthi Kotrotsou decided to move to Australia. With his years of experience in hospitality and tourism Steve had been offered a sponsored visa by an international company to manage a chain of restaurants’ operations Down Under.
Having previously owned his own establishments in Athens, Steve had a lot to put on the table. Frustrated by the crisis in Greece, and with two youngsters the couple seized the opportunity.
“Hard work is not something we are afraid of; it is what we are used to, so we decided to give Australia a go,” Marianthi tells Neos Kosmos.
“At first I was a stay-at-home mum, as my husband was in a managerial role with the company until two years ago, when I was employed by them in logistics.”
Even though they were both content in their situation, the thought of building something of their own again always lingered in the back of their minds.
Working in restaurants both here and in Greece, Steve realised that although chicken was popular in Australia it was underrated.
“That was the main driving point for me to do a Mediterranean-style chicken bar in Melbourne,” Steve tells Neos Kosmos.
“Wherever you’d go, was the same offering. I wanted to do things in a simple, honest, tasty manner but also take things to the next level.”
To create a unique casual dining experience using authentic cooking methods, he focused on Greek-style chicken and a traditional Portuguese recipe.
“We are very happy with how people are receiving our Hellenic-inspired chicken marinated and roasted in a zesty blend of sun-ripened lemons and mix of herbs; it’s our hit.
“They also love the Portuguese chicken, marinated in our signature Madeira peri peri sauce. We wanted to take a restaurant’s quality food and put it in a casual environment with people getting real value for money,” he goes on.
“… To create a casual dining experience adding simple but deliciously well-made dishes.”
At Bird & Fire one can enjoy calamari, saganaki, chicken and beef burgers, lamb chops and riblets, pork ribs, Mediterranean BBQ, Spanish rice, roasted sweet potato, Greek salads, and a variety of green and mixed grain or vegetable salads.
“Meat can be pulled or grilled, but there are many vegetarian and of course gluten-free options as well,” Steve continues.
Meanwhile, to ensure freshness and quality all of Bird & Fire’s ingredients are carefully selected and their free-range chicken is hand-cut then seasoned and cooked with traditional slow-cooked methods over a hot charcoal pit.
“For us eating healthily is important, and so is great taste and flavour. All the sauces and seasonings, the salads … are made in-house,” he says.
“With a range of family recipes passed from generation to generation, we use the highest quality ingredients prepared using old school techniques to perfectly balance our combinations of mouthwatering flavours.”
Indeed, these are the true flavours and approach Malvern’s vibrant multicultural demographic has warmly embraced, placing Bird & Fire among its go-to places even though it has only been around for six months.
“There is a big Greek community in the area, also many Italian, Portuguese, and generally European people … that can appreciate good food with a bit of an ethnic touch.
“My previous employer has faith in the idea and has backed my investment,” Steve adds.
“We just have to build a new network now and an honest, steady relationship with our locals and broader clientele as our goal is to open another four to five stores in Victoria within the next few years and hopefully go national. We are doing our best and we are seriously excited.”
Editor’s note: Don’t leave without trying yiayia’s milk biscuit pudding.
Catering is also available. For more go to birdandfire.com.au