Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Rated: Elia

I know, I know, 2 Greek restaurants in a row? Sue me why don't you! but hey, the way I look at it is I'm discovering the Greek food around Dubai for YOU. See? This is all for YOU. Not me. Just YOU. Geez, be thankful. Kidding.

I was quite surprised that this place had been around for a whopping 6 years and I've never heard of it. I guess that was the beauty of it. Tucked away in the 3rd floor of Majestic hotel in Bur Dubai, Mankhool area, this place escapes from the loud and noisy Dubai.

And so our "Greekilicious" night began at Elia...

Upon entering, you see a mixture of a crowd from couples, seniors, families and friends dining and chit chatting their way through their meals. The Greek music in the background was a perfect mood setter and the place itself has a cute, rustic meets modern take on European style (much like their menu). The ambiance and look & feel already made me escape from Dubai's usual settings and took me to a European escapade - along the lines of Greece. My friend and I decided to sit in their glass terrace area which was beautiful. So homey and inviting and surrounded by trees and minimal views of buzzing Bur Dubai.

I know that Greek food traditions are similar to Arabic and so mezze was a must. You muzt mezze. Was that funny or plain cheesy? Now while we're on the topic of mezze and this is where you're wondering what we ordered & I was wondering what to order, this pops up on our table --> 

Eggplant salad, marinated olives with fresh baked bread. Okay let me break this one down for you. The eggplant dip was so smooth, full of flavors dancing in my mouth like olives, eggplant, garlic - just yummy. The olives were sitting in rosemary & garlic infused olive oil and the fresh bread had an assortment of carob (not pictured since this pic is the second round of bread), sesame crusted and olive sourdough. This was so good we had to tell each other to stop and save room for mezze.

Since we're on the topic of mezze, here's what we got:

We ordered the Tomato Kefte and Cheese saganaki. Looking at the kefte, I was afraid they were going to be flavorless or bland but one bite of this, and YUM. Super super crunchy (best part about it) and filled with delicious and simple flavors of herbs that go so well together. Doesn't need any sauce and was not one bit dry. Now I have never tried graviera cheese and was pretty excited about this one. I also appreciated the hefty portion they give you (since it is AED67!). The cheese itself was super tasty - salty, flavorful and delightfully crispy on the top from being baked. I also loved the balanced flavors of the tomato, garlic and pepper sauce that it sat on. Both these starters, I will definitely go back for.

At this point, we've done two rounds of breads and dips and two starters and I have to say we were 60% full. Note to self, eat less bread next time (let's see how that goes!).

So far so good. Here's where things started to fall a bit. We waited around 15-20 minutes for the main courses after our starters which meant we were getting even more full. We also mentioned it our waiter and the manager took note of that.

Once our mains did come, this is what we were about to tuck into:

Since the menu was split up into two: one being traditional Greek food and the other authentic with a contemporary twist, we decided try one from each section. I'm going to leave it to you to guess which one ;)

The chicken was cooked well and had flavor. The downside was that it was heavily coated with dried mint and was borderline bitter. The pita bread it was served on top of was too oily to eat. On a positive note, the crunchy onions went well with the chicken sewers as well as the tzatziki. The stuffed capsicum with tomato and rice was yummy and reminded me of homemade dolma. I prefer Iraqi dolma over this since I love the additions of meat in the stuffing and the sweet pomegranate syrup it's cooked in.

The second was a sea bass spring risotto with egglemon/'avgolemono' sauce. I didn't know what that was until I checked and it's pretty much the same meaning as it's name - a thickener consisting of egg and lemon. The sea bass was cooked well, however, the risotto was under cooked. Although the dish had good flavor and was almost there, the under cooked rice left you with a chalk-like taste. It's kind of surprising since the mains did come late. Since I ate the best sea bass risotto of my life last weekend (read about it here), that was the reference I was comparing this to and it was in two different playing fields.

We were super full by the end of our meal but the manager came
round and delightfully complimented us with two dishes of their milk pie dessert ('Galaktompoureko') as a sign of courtesy for the earlier delay. Although we were full, doesn't mean we don't taste right? :)

The texture was great since the outer filo pastry was crispy and browned with sugar while the inside was creamy and milky.

Their service, aside of the slight delay, was great and we were very pleased that the manager reconciled our slight issue with a complimentary dessert.

I am definitely going back to Elia to try out more dishes and absolutely love their getaway location and ambiance!

Total price breakdown below (for 2):
1 x tomato kefte = 23 
1 x cheese saganaki = 67 (A bit too pricey)
1 x chicken souvlaki = 56 
1 x sea bass risotto = 69
1 x large water = 15
Total (AED) = 230

I've rated Elia 4 out of 5!

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