5 November 2018

Canberra's first takeaway with a Greek twist

| Branka Prodanovic
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Ela Yiro is Canberra’s first takeaway specialising in Greek yiro! Photo: @zees.grams.

Late night feeds have become so much better as Canberra welcomes its very first takeaway that specialises in Greek street food. Forming part of the creative food craze sweeping throughout the Capital, Ela Yiro stocks all our favourite fast-food snacks from pizzas to fish and chips, to a wholesome selection of Greek-style yiro!

Conveniently located in Franklin, Ela Yiro is owned by power couple, Leo and Anastasia, who opened the little gem just over a year and a half ago. Leo describes it as a ‘hidden place’ because “not many people know it exists behind Flemington Road”.

Ela Yiro is conveniently based in Franklin. Photo: @zees.grams.

After noticing a yiro craze spreading through Sydney, Leo thought it was a perfect market to bring into Canberra while allowing him to tap into his Greek background.

“Mom and dad came to Australia in the late sixties and I was born and bred here in Canberra, and lived with mum and dad at home and with my grandparents. So, I was brought up here in Canberra, but I couldn’t speak any English going to school because the grandparents were bringing us up pretty much. So yeah, I had your average Greek upbringing.”

However, living in Australia also meant adopting a different culture. Leo says it is this combination of Aussie and Greek cultures that gave birth to Ela Yiro as a takeaway with a twist. You could call it a multicultural cocktail of food.

“The menu has a variety of food. There are traditional Greek sweets. The meat on offer is chicken, pork, and lamb. Traditional Greek yiro is with chicken and pork only but with all the different cultures that reside in Australia, we decided to sell lamb. We do pizzas, fish, burgers, all sorts of things.”

Ela Yiro is therefore a haven for those who crave diversity in food. On the menu are also vegetarian options with a must-try signature haloumi yiro that will make your stomach flip. Those searching for something simpler can opt for only the salad which is packed with flavour nonetheless.

Leo is hard at work packing every dish full of flavour. Photo: @zees.grams.

Alongside his wife, Anastasia, Leo designs and creates the Ela Yiro menu in-house, drawing on the twenty plus years of experience in the Canberra food industry.

“I’ve always been in the food industry. The first takeaway shop that I owned was Palmerston takeaway in the nineties, and my parents had Hume Takeaway and I took that over and worked out there for about twenty-five years. Then I opened this.”

While the menu at Ela Yiro is still new and experimental, Leo constantly adds little bits and pieces to it. On the list of things to come are gluten-free pizza bases and something that will definitely bring the house down; haloumi chips!

One of the challenges Ela Yiro faces is being mistaken for a ‘local kebab joint’. The confusion lies in the lack of awareness of the difference between a yiro and a kebab. A yiro is a traditional wrap that houses a specific flavour, but one which will transport you straight to the streets of Greece. Leo explains:

“It’s pita bread with yoghurt, garlic sauce, tomatoes, onions, and a few chips with a choice of meet including chicken, pork and lamb. A lot of people mistake it for kebabs and they think it’s a kebab because they just see the meat rotating. So, I say to them, well you can get a lamb kebab or a chicken kebab but you can’t get a pork kebab. So that’s something different. People are usually not sure but I give them a taste, because I like people to taste the food and then they enjoy it.”

The spread at Ela Yiro includes traditional sweet and savoury dishes. Photo: Branka Prodanovic

The pork yiro is Ela Yiro’s signature dish because it combines the tartness of the meat, freshness of the salad, and juiciness of the ‘special sauce’ that always manages to seep all over the fingers. Marry that with salty, crispy, deep-fried chips, and you have yourself a solid meal that will satisfy any craving for takeaway food.

The meat used in the yiro is also used to top off the pizzas available at Ela Yiro, enhancing flavour and adding some creative flair on an age-old dish. For those with a sweet tooth, meals can be finished off with a wide selection of Greek-style sweets made by Leo’s mum, including the crowd-pleasing baklava.

For those looking for a challenge, Ela Yiro has that covered too. Aim to eat 6 yiro consecutively in sixty minutes! Winners receive a choice of yiro every day for a whole year.

Be sure to try the signature dish- pork yiro. Photo: @zees.grams.

Ela Yiro is located inside the Ivy Apartments at 241 Flemington Road, Franklin.

Opening hours: Sunday- Tuesday 9:30 am-8 pm, Wednesday 9:30 am-9 pm, and Thursday-Saturday 9:30 am-9:30 pm.

You can follow Ela Yiro on Facebook and Instagram.

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