The Thirsty Koala; the name is catchy. It's a spot that takes you down under, right in the middle of Astoria.
"They were craving something that wasn't Asian, Greek, or Italian. They wanted something new," said Katherine, one of the owners of the restaurant.
And they're finding that thanks to the three owners. They're all of Greek backgrounds, but Christine Chellos grew up in Australia. She missed the food of home, and Katherine Fuchs was happy to recreate.
"If something resonated for her, reminded her of home, then we stuck with it, we kept it, and made it a menu item.
They had a menu, but weren't sure they'd open a restaurant until they finally did.
"Did I ever think it would become a restaurant? No. I'm honest to you, I didn't. And to this day, I sort of thankful that we get people in and it's still a little bit surreal for me," said Christine.
But diners are happy, eating fish and chips, kangaroo burgers and tacos.
"I got the kangaroo tacos, which are amazing, because they're like tacos, but they're super gamey and delicious, and they're so good," one customer said.
"I had the kangaroo burger. Never could've say I've had kangaroo in my life, so I got kangaroo," another customer said.
Australian lamb dishes are also popular, like the lamp lollies. Katherine coats the lamb with rosemary oregano, thyme and garlic, and grills the chops. She serves it with an Aussie favorite, pumpkin.
"Caramelized pumpkin, that was extraordinary. It was seasoned really well, tender, ate them right off the bone. We had one each, and we enjoyed it.
And to be finished off with some Australian pavlova.
"The food is really fresh. Everything is delicious," one customer said.
The Thirsty Koala is located at 35-12 Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria, NY 11105. For more information, please visit www.thethirstykoala.com
Recipe: Grilled lamb lollies with caramelized pumpkin (serves 2) 1 lamb rack, frenched and divided into chops Wet Rub 2 tablespoons of minced garlic 1/4 cup of olive oil 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh oregano 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme 1tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary Kosher salt and pepper to taste Using a clean towel dipped in oil then strained to remove excess, season your grill pan or outdoor grill rack.. Preheat to high heat. Combine olive oil with the freshly minced garlic and herbs in a bowl large enough to fit your chops. Once combined add the chops and massage into the meat. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. The rub can be left to penetrate the meat overnight if time permits. Place the chops on the preheated grill and cook 4 minutes on each side for medium rare or to an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with fresh herbs. Caramelized Pumpkin 1 1/2 pounds of calabaza pumpkin or kabocha squash. peeled, seeded and cubed 2 tablespoons of canola oil 1/4 cup maple syrup Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat canola oil in an ovenproof nonstick pan on medium high heat. Add pumpkin. Reduce to medium heat tossing frequently. When pumpkin begins to appear translucent, add maple syrup and toss until well incorporated. Transfer pan to oven and bake until browned and fork tender. Serve with lamb lollies.