Tom Sarafian is taking over Gray and Gray for 11 blessed days

Published on 2 May 2022

Photo: Baked mante topped with slow-cooked tomatoes, garlic yoghurt and freshly ground sumac (image: Alex Ghaddab).

He who made hummus the hottest pantry item in the country lends his immense talents (and piercing stare) to Northcote's breakout Eastern European wine bar.  

“We’ve been looking for a Tom to take over our kitchen for a while now,” says Gray and Gray co-owner Boris Portnoy, “and we never thought we’d land a Tom of this calibre. We can’t believe our good fortune.”

Nor can we. In a major win for Melbourne and a soft-power coup for the Black Sea basin, Tom Sarafian, the former Bar Saracen head chef and maker of some of the best hummus and toum this side of the Middle East
, is taking over Gray and Gray Wine Bar from May 12 to 22 for a series of dinners and long Sunday lunches honouring his Armenian heritage.

“We had lot of fun during our last one-night dinner with Tom, delving deep into recipes and flavours that are at once somewhat familiar and completely new to us,” Gray and Gray owners Boris Portnoy and Mitch Sokolin said. “This seemed like the next logical step.” 

The set menus will include the likes of Armenian steak tartare and baked mante, topped with slow-cooked tomatoes, garlic yoghurt and freshly ground sumac. “One dish I can't wait to cook is topik,” said Sarafian, “a very old recipe made with boiled and peeled chickpeas kneaded into a soft dough bound with tahini and potato, then filled with caramelised onions, sweet spices, and braised duck, before steaming and serving with barbecued flatbreads." (We also can't wait for this one.)

The wine will also come from Armenia – one of the oldest winemaking cultures in the world – in a list that showcases some of the country’s top producers and ancient varieties.

Sounds rather like the essential Melbourne introduction to Armenian hospitality staged in the city’s smartest wine bar, for 11 days only. Book now

Tom Sarafian x Gray and Gray, Wednesdays to Sundays from May 12 to 22, 188 High St, Northcote, 0434 618 331,, @grayandbreadandwine

By Frank Sweet


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