Monday, September 3, 2007

It's greek to me

Over the weekend, A and I were feeling nostalgic about our vacation to Greece, so we decided to head for one of the 2 Greek restaurants in Delhi. It's Greek to me is a tiny place at the back of Safdarjung Enclave, near DLTA. The decor consists of mural-led walls with Greek-style pillars and greenery painted on them, and all the doors leading out of the restaurant are painted a bright blue - like that of the Greek Orthodox churches we marveled at in Santorini.

The restaurant had an extensive menu of starters, which they called Tapas, for some reason. We chose the Feta pie, in memory of our favourite restaurant, Volcano, on Santorini ( you can read all about it on my travel blog), and the zucchini fritters. Most of the main courses and the bulk of starters are non-vegetarian at this place. The starters came quickly and the portions were small but delicious. The service was very good - efficient and friendly. Little A had become fixated on sausages (which he has never tasted), for some strange reason, so we ordered those for him. A wanted to keep lunch light as we were going out for dinner, so he chose an omelette with spinach and feta cheese, and I didn't find anything Greek from the menu exciting as a main course so I ordered Pasta with pesto sauce and roast bell peppers.

The omelette was vouched for by A and little A enjoyed his sausages, but the pasta was not up to the mark. The pesto had way too much parmesan and as a result, was of a gluey consistency. I had to leave most of my portion, and was a little surprised that the waiter did not enquire about it when he cleared my plate.

We had fig icecream and Baklava for dessert. The ice cream was nice but the flavour could have been stroner. The Baklava was tasty and chock-full of nuts but not at all crisp. All in all, we were a bit disappointed with our meal and knew we wouldn't be going back there again.

A similar thing had happened the previous weekend with Tabula Rasa, a much in demand hotspot. A and I had gone there for brunch some time last year and enjoyed the experience. Last week we went there with friends for drinks. They have an interesting cocktail menu, with each cocktail highlighted on a separate page, and some exotic items were on the menu, including Cachaca which my Brazilian collague had told me about the same day. But when we ordered it, we were told that it was not available. The same thing happened with a couple of other drinks so we gave up and resigned ourselves to Martinis. The Apple martini was delicious and crisp, but the Pomegranate one I had ordered tasted like vintage cough syrup! It also cost a bomb, since it was made with Belvedere Vodka - about Rs. 1000, which I really thought was highway robbery, since a whole bottle of Belvedere costs about 2 K at a duty free.

The starters were delicious, especially some rolls wrapped in spinach and served with Thai chilly-garlic sauce.

We had asked for a separate table for the two of us, since the friends we were with were meeting another group for dinner, but the place was booked solid. "We'll see what we can do", was the best response we could manage, but eventually the manager did manage a table for us. The maitre d' was terrific, finding a really good table for us at the back. Later on he noticed me taking my inhaler and came over to tell me about a home remedy for asthma, which I thought was really nice - Only in India!

The music was good, and the place was rocking with Delhi's PYTs and wannabe HHs. Sadly, the food did not live up to the expectations we had from the restaurant. It was average, at best, and took a really long time to come. Moreover, while the waiters outnumbered the guests at times, they were ill-equipped to handle any request out of the ordinary. We had asked them to split the bill for drinks and starters from our earlier table, since we didn't want our friends and their gang to wind up paying for it. It took about 45 minutes, several repetitions of the request and the eventual appearance of the maitre d' for the transaction to go through!

A and I were discussing it last night and we thought that perhaps most retaurants are putting in so much effort to be different and innovative that those adjectives alone define the food experience. The delicious factor was missing from both these restaurants, and we most likely will not revisit either of them. (Well, maybe Tabula Rasa, for the music and the starters!) The only restaurants to which we have returned time and again - Diva, The Great Kebab Factory, Olive (now sadly closed), Tonino. All of them first and foremost have terrific food, followed by good service and ambience, not the other way around.

3 comments:

john said...

Hi!

I was lookin for a review on Its greek to me n found ur blog.
One thing I wanna ask, is the whole article on IGTM or the first half is IGTM and the rest on the other resturant(s)???

I think, one should not complaint about the price of an item, if they knew its price before ordering. One should rather go for other options, if they find any item expensive.

Also please do mention what is avg cost for 2(including starter, maincourse, desert n drinks, if possible) at the resturant you review.

bird's eye view said...

John - half the review is on It's greek to me and half on Tabula Rasa. I agree on not complaining about the price but it also depends on the quality of the food and the size of the portions. I don't mind paying a high price but I want the food to be cooked right and with a decent-sized portion. You can't charge me an arm and a leg and leave me hungry at the end of the meal.

Have started trying to keep track of the kind of bill to expect in later reviews...review of Bukhara coming up shortly, which will include that!

Anonymous said...

hi there,

i was going through your reveiw which you wrote for It's Greek to me, safdurjung.i read before travelling to india i am from greece actually.
i thought i will not go the restaurant because what u wrote was too bad for a visit but my wife told me the reveiw is quite old and there are bad days and good days in a restaurant so we decided to visit this place infornt of a huge park.To my surprise i didn't had such a delicious greek(medeterrian)food ever,i have travelled extensively. i think the mousakka was to die for and the santorini fish fingers(they were not fried but they were grilled). what i think you should go and visit again write a blog or reveiw again. they have also acheived the award of best food in 2009. its too cool man. i will recommend every body to go there and visit once.

love abrahim