Management says the look of the space was inspired by an ancient Athenian courtyard, but you could just as easily label Yiamas’s white Tyrolean-rendered walls, natural finishes and black industrial light fixtures as Australian contemporary. Caitlin Johnston’s thrilling drinks list, however, lets you know in no uncertain terms that Greece is the word here: xinomavro, assyrtiko and vidiano share page space with tsipouro, ouzo, Greek-themed cocktails and other on-brand tipples. Even better, engaging staff have the know-how and enthusiasm to get you excited about drinking out of your comfort zone. They’re also dab hands at getting guests pumped about ordering, although the smell of smoke from the charcoal-burning hearth in the open kitchen plays its part too.
The barbecue dials up the intensity of juicy Kalamata olives while helping a rolled saddle of juicy goat be the best crisp-skinned version of itself. Fillets of mullet get quickly blistered over the fire before being doused in a bright tomato and vinegar sauce: a brilliant, escabeche-y interpretation of Corfu-style baked fish. Take a bow, Justin Scarvaci: the former Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Cutler & Co chef who’s overseeing the cooking. While Scarvaci has a knack for using technique to modernise dishes and delight guests (the salt cod in those excellent takoyaki-esque fried “fritters” is made in-house and braised in lager), he also knows when to respect his elders. The tzatziki, as per yiayia Arnold’s directives, practically buzzes with raw garlic, while the baklava is hand-made by Arnold’s mum, Eleni. (The square of bay leaf parfait that’s cradled by said baklava, however, is all Scarvaci.)
But taken – and eaten – as a whole, this two-bite wonder is the pleasure of Yiamas in microcosm: the new and the old coming together to create something far greater than the sum of its parts. A newcomer to be reckoned with.
26 Denis St, Subiaco WA
Chef: Justin Scarvaci
Opening hours: Dinner Thu-Mon
Price guide: $$
Verdict: Yiamas by name, yum-as by nature.