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New Restaurant To Bring Bit Of Oz To Astoria

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | November 30, 2012 5:17pm

QUEENS — Astoria is getting a bit of Oz.

The neighborhood, famous for its cuisine variety, from Greece to Italy, the Czech Republic to Turkey, will soon be also enriched by Australian flavor.

The Thirsty Koala, slated to open within a couple of weeks at 35-12 Ditmars Blvd., will offer Australian treats while using local products to make them.

“There is nothing like it in the area and we thought it would be a good fit,” said Christine Chellos, one of the owners, an Aussie who moved to the U.S. more than 15 years ago.

“Australia is very multicultural,” said Katherine Fuchs, also a co-owner, who has been working on the restaurant’s menu since January.

Australian cuisine, Fuchs said, much like American food, has absorbed many foreign influences, including Asian and European flavors brought by immigrants from Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Great Britain.

“We are trying to take a little bit of everything and present it here using a lot of fresh and locally grown ingredients,” said Fuchs, promising prices “competitive for the neighborhood.”

Many items on the menu will have names referring to specific places in Australia or things commonly associated with the country.

For example, among appetizers, patrons will find Bundoora Artichokes, named after a suburb of Melbourne, and Boomerang Tacos, which will be served with fresh fish.

The list of drinks will include the Koala Martini and the Gabba, named after the Brisbane Cricket Ground.

All the beef and lamb meat will come from Australia, said Fuchs, adding “It’s grass fed and organic.”

There will also be plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, she noted.

Among popular Australian dishes, the restaurant will serve a meat pie; all kinds of jaffles, which are Australian version of pressed sandwiches; burgers; and fish and chips, which will be served with ginger beer butter and thyme and basil yogurt.

There will also be a choice of Australian wines and beers, along with a variety of craft suds, including gluten free variations.

Among typical Australian desserts, patrons will find Pavlova, an Australian meringue gluten-free cake; Lamington, a cake rolled in a chocolate ganache and coconut with strawberry in the middle; and a dessert with Tim Tams, which are Australian cookies.

The focus will be on locally grown and organic products. “We are going to use a lot of seasonal products and local milk and dairy,” Fuchs said.

Charcuterie will come from the Astoria-based Muncan Food Corp. and cheeses from Murray’s in Manhattan.

Fuchs is also planning to make her own goat and farmer cheese.

The restaurant, featuring light yellow colors and pine wood furniture, will be also serving a brunch menu from Friday to Sunday.