Once every six weeks, Divido in Mount Hawthorn hosts a special set menu titled Back to Balkans, inspired by Greek, Macedonian, and Croatian food. Priced at $65 per head, it is a contender for Perth’s best value quality dining set menu.
The woodfired oven in the kitchen produces incredibly flavoured food prepared by chefs with cultural heritages that match the cuisine. Head chef Jon Archondakis started his apprenticeship in 2007 under owner and executive chef Jason Jajnovic.
“I absolutely working with Jason – he is a chef who always gets it right,” Achondakis said.
The wine list had enough choices of different varietals weighted with Italian and European wines, offering the best in category for price, rather than pandering to the parochial. It’s great to see a wine list with reasonable priced wines. The Croatian Karlovačko was the perfect aperitif on a warm day: malty, crisp beer.
Friendly professional service, a warm inviting restaurant with soft chocolate decor, cosy booths and first class food make it hard to fault Divido. Put it this way, I didn’t need to reach for the salt once or the wine to top up our glasses all night.
Like Divido on Facebook to stay up to date with their special dinners and events. They have a special Melbourne Cup luncheon at $80 per head includes a three course meal and a glass of Moet & Chandon on arrival. The menu looks fantastic and I’ve been told bookings are necessary if you don’t want to miss out.
This is our Back to Balkans dinner, a celebration feast of St Andrew of Constantinople:
Sarma: Pickled cabbage rolls, veal mince, rice and smoked ribs. Hearty, great chunky terrine like texture, and the pickled leaves cut through the richness of the filling. The accompanying delicate tomato based sauce was flavoured with the smoky rib. There wasn’t much meat on the rib, however the cabbage roll was very generous.
Tarama: Fish roe dip. My mother in law makes fantastic tarama, but Divido’s one would have met her standards. It was silky smooth, buttery texture, salty and drizzled with olive oil. Teamed with crusty crunchy bread thins, I honestly wanted to buy a tub of it to take home. Salty, savoury, smooth, creamy but a little grainy, it was the perfect pink tarama. I wish they sold it by the tub!
Bakaliarossalata: Spring sald , broad beans, peas, salt cod. Fresh crisp palate cleansing salad.
Kalzunakia: Cretan feta and mint pies drizzled with honey. Unusual sounding, these little mini samosa looking bits were a bit dry, but full of salty feta, sweet pea, fresh mint and the drizzle of sticky honey over the top added a sweet finish.
Guba: Macedonian pumpkin pastries. Succulent sweet pumpkin flesh incased in buttery flakey pastry. Rich, sweet, and something I’d love to eat every single day. An unusual dish – I’ve not come across too many pumpkin pastry dishes before, but it was perfectly executed.
Moussaka: Layers of rabbit stew with eggplant and potato. Succulent delicate chunks of rabbit (no strong gamey taste), with meaty eggplant slices and cinnamon, orange zest and bay leaf infused sauce.
Perfectly matched to the Barossa semillion we had ordered (bottle $50).
Arni: Whole lamb, roasted in woodfired oven for the duration of a Greek Priest’s sermon, with garlic, anchovy and rosemary, served with rosemary and salt infused bread.
The lamb fell off the bone, the meat was juicy, balanced hints of garlic, fragrant rosemary and the saltiness from the anchovies came through with each mouthful.
My husband would have thought he’d died and gone to heaven eating Divido’s lamb. Faultless.
Kupus Salate: HERO dish. Coleslaw, Croatian coleslaw. Who would’ve thought I would have loved coleslaw so much? I always avoid the gluggy cabbagy overly tangy dish at every bbq.
Divido surprised me with their version. Finely shredded savoy cabbage, shaved carrot, red onion, radish, all dressed with a balanced white wine vinaigrette. Not a dollop of mayonnaise in sight, thank goodness.
Fresh and crisp, it cut through the richness of the other dishes and left my mouth feeling cleansed.
Fidhe: Greek macaroni and cheese. Made with risoni, a pasta shaped like swollen grains of rice, this dish wasn’t overly cheesy and with all the other glorious food in front of us, didn’t excite me.
Grosak sa slaninom: Green peas and bacon. Much like the Italian piselli e pancetta. Flavour marriage made in heaven and a perfect side dish. Exactly like my mum makes.
Kourambiethes: Greek shortbread. Imagine nutty denser melting moments that crunch, crumble then melt away on your tongue in an instant. Flavoured with almonds and cloves, topped with a thick layer of icing sugar, my Greek mother in law would have approved of these ones.
Palačinke: Baked crepes with spring fruits. My favourite dessert. Thin layers of crepes, filled with vanilla, orange, marmalade and brown sugar. Sweet, fruity, with a bit of acid from the orange and the mellowness of the vanilla and a sticky syrup over the top – almost a perfect dessert (just needed chocolate, somewhere – I love chocolate!)
Kosiniak: Macedonian brioche with almond filling. This was like a cake and given the above two desserts was perfect and my tummy full, the brioche didn’t capture my attention.
Divido has consisted been listed in Perth’s top ten best restaurant for years, with good reason. The food is beautifully prepared, rustic and tasty, the service is first class and the ambience is the right balance of buzzy and intimate. For what you are paying, it is terrific value for exceptional dining. Best thing of all, it’s open on Monday nights making it a perfect choice for birthdays and other anniversaries that happen to fall on a Monday. A winner, every time.
Open Monday to Saturday 6pm to late. Closed Sundays. Fully licensed