It’s after a long long time that eating in a Dubai restaurant felt like a dream. Not because of the sun rays that reflected off the blue sea waters over the terrace or the dreamy, lit-up white nests hanging from the ceiling cast magical shadows on the distressed wooden floors. But simply because of a few stunning dishes that we ate at Eat Greek. Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns – a beauty, a must have… Jumbo Prawns wrapped in Kadaifi filo (very popularly used in Arabic sweets like Kunafa), fried and served with a dreamy pink strawberry dressing and chopped pieces of fruits, deliciously called the fruity ratatouille. We almost didn’t order it, not realising its divine taste by reading it off the menu. Much after we had finished ordering our food and were almost half way into our eating, the Head Chef Theodoris (how could I resist myself from meeting a Greek Chef ?) told us that he would be sending his favourite dishes to our table. He insisted that we must try them. The Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns was one of them.
Not knowing what to expect from a Greek restaurant (I must have tasted Greek food faintly a decade back, on Big Z’s first birthday, at least that’s what one of my email printouts indicates), I had my blogger friend FooDiva’s (a Greek-Cypriot-British herself) review of Eat Greek on my smartphone. Located in the new beach development on JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) – The Beach Mall, I am told that this is the second Greek restaurant in Dubai, the first one being Elia in Dubai Majestic Hotel. We had a friend visiting us from India and we wanted to try out something different – ‘no, not Arabic or Lebanese please; definitely not Indian – so our already-visited-twice House of Curry was out; no, not burgers please – so the new Californian style Counter Burger was out; no, not Leopold’s please – not sandwiches kind of stuff’ … so we ended up in Eat Greek. This must have been one of those happy accidents that I should be thanking my stars for.
What else must you eat here apart from the devastatingly beautiful Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns? The second contender is the Flamed Grilled Whole Calamari. A simple preparation where the calamaris had been drizzled with lemon oil, garlic and then grilled, this dish is definitely for them who love squids. Not everyone likes the bland, rubbery texture of calamari. With such uncomplicated ingredients, the freshness of the squid shone through, lending itself to a soft lemony taste.
And then I’ll come straight to the Desserts we had. We had initially ordered Loukoumades (below) because the Z-Sisters are simply crazy about the Emirati version of a similar dessert – the Leqaimat, and can devour bowls of them (our earlier experiences at Al Fanar Restaurant and The Biker’s Cafe are evidence to their Leqaimat love story). Leqaimats are golden crisp dough balls coated with Dibbs or the date syrup that I have seen the local ladies make so lovingly in the Global Village or during the DWHC and I have been curious how different or better would their Greek cousins be. Specially, after reading what FooDiva had to say… For a sweet ending to our meal, the loukoumades call out to the child in me. Teeny deep fried doughnuts drizzled with a teeny speck of honey, a popular street food back home – straight out of the frying pan, crispy and gooey – prettily presented in a miniature bucket. The Chef recommended Nutella Loukoumades although we had initially ordered the regular ones – we ended up tasting both! Nutella? Well, not only is the brand celebrating it’s 50 years, I am yet to come across any other food brand that has swept across different countries and is slowly merging itself into their respective local cuisine so effortlessly (my German friends can lick up bottles of them at one sitting). What’s our verdict on these sweet fried calorific Greek doughnuts vs the Emirati ones? The Greek ones are more soft and dipped in honey rather than the the date syrup. Either which way – Greek or Emirati doughnuts, we are absolute slaves to these!
Another recommendation comes our way from the Chef – the Tomato Jam & Lemon Cream with Mastic Ice cream. Mastic, an ingredient used in the Turkish ice creams (I insist that you read my heart wrenching and devastating story of Turkish ice creams), this has been a subject of study as well as fascination after my trip to Istanbul last November. This was a dessert platter with an interesting combination in taste and texture – the sweet and liquid tomato jam contrasting the soft and sour lemon cream, while the thick Mastic Ice cream holding all of them together. It’s actually inspired me to make some interesting combination of desserts at home.
No other dishes? While the ones that I have discussed above are the *heroes*, there are also a few more worth-mentioning dishes. For example, the Baked Feta Cheese, the Spinach and Cheese Salad or the Tzatziki. We had also ordered the Pita Lamb Gyros – the pan fried shaved lamb mixed with tzatziki, tomatoes and onions, wrapped in the Pita Bread, just to compare them to their local version – the Shawarma. They pretty much came home as the lady serving us insisted that the sizes were small and we should order one plate for each one of us – but Lady, those weren’t our only orders. The only disappointing dish that day was the Kleftiko Roast lamb – the slow cooked lamb shank. Presumably it had been slow-cooked but the the lamb tasted hard and burnt – nothing spectacular. I asked the Greek diners sitting at the next table and they too seemed disappointed with the Kleftiko.
What do you expect when you try out a new cuisine for the first time? That is exactly what I am going to find out tonight as I create a Bengali menu for the Cook The Books event at Book Munch. For me, the authenticity of a dish takes a back seat when I don’t know anything about the dish, while all it matters is ‘Do I like the food?’. I am yet to ascertain whether Eat Greek serves authentic Greek food, but all I know is that I can’t wait to go back. Specially for the Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns. Or the Flamed Grilled Whole Calamari. Or the Loukamandes. Or the Mastic icecream served with tomato jam and lemon cream!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: Our bill came to around Dhs 600 for 3 adults and 2 hungry kids. It didn’t include the Kadaifi Jumbo Prawns, the Mastic Ice cream and the Tzatziki – all the dishes that Chef Theodoris had recommended (we were getting worried with the bill as we had already ordered so much from the menu!). While you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from this post. Please note that this is not a sponsored post and the subject, story, opinions and views stated here are my own and are independent. You can catch my daily travel and food journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.