Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Restaurant

Aphrodite
19 Westow Street
Crystal Palace
SE19 3RY

Phone:- 0208 653 9895

Overview

Aphrodite, as the name implies, is a Greek restaurant. It comprises a cheerful, compact restaurant on the ground floor.

Eva and I visited it last Saturday, here is a precis of our evening.

Ambience

The restaurant is compact, to the extent that depending on the table allocated, you may find yourself seated quite close to your fellow diners. The restaurant was very busy, and it is advisable to book ahead. It has a lively, friendly atmosphere which is evocative of the Greek theme. We had made the booking in the afternoon for 9:00PM that evening, and were given a good table (set slightly apart from the other tables) at the head of the restaurant; this gave us a panoramic view of the comings and goings of Aphrodite.

The d├ęcor is cheerful and bright; the top half of the walls are a light yellow the bottom half blue. On one wall a mural of a sea view has been painted. A statue of Aphrodite adorns one corner of the room. The polished wood floor contrasts well with the wooden tables and chairs, which are stained dark brown.

One slightly comic distraction related to our table, which had an annoying wobble. Finding the nearest solution to hand I folded up a piece of pitta bread and put it under the leg; problem solved!

Not unsurprisingly the background music is Greek, this is a positive enhancement to the atmosphere.

The restaurant is well staffed, and diners are greeted in a professional and friendly manner.

Menu

The menu offers a good selection of Greek food including; meze, tzatziki, octopus, Baklava and stuffed peppers.

Service

The service is friendly and efficient. As soon as we were seated we were offered our menus, a complimentary bowl of olives and chilli peppers; together with a basket of warm pitta bread.

Food

I kicked off with the stuffed red pepper, this was succulent and tasty; containing a well balanced filling of rice and minced lamb. It was served with a sour cream dip, in my opinion it makes an ideal starter.

I followed on with the Kleftico (a shank of lamb, braised in the oven), served with roast potatoes and carrots. This was well cooked, the meat literally fell off the bones, juicy and had a hint of garlic. I would readily have this again.

Eva started with smoked ham and deep fried Halloumi cheese. The cheese had a slight rubbery consistency and was, in Eva’s opinion, a little too salty. She chose moussaka as a main course, accompanied by a Greek salad. The moussaka was served in an earthenware pot, and came to the table bubbling hot. It was rich and creamy. However, Eva felt (and on testing it myself I would agree) that the proportion of cheese to meat was not entirely correct; namely too much cheese and not enough meat. Additionally, I feel that the dish would have benefited from additional seasoning during the cooking process.

We had intended to have a dish of deep fried mushrooms as a shared accompaniment to our main courses. However, owing to a misunderstanding between myself, the waiter and the chef; this dish, much like “Banquo’s ghost”, made three repeat appearances during and after my starter. Recognising defeat, I decided not to send it away for the third time; and we ate it as a second course before our main course arrived.

We finished our meal off with a glass of ouzo each.

The overall meal, which included a bottle of dry Greek white wine, came to £44 before tip.

Suggestions

I present below a few, well intentioned, suggestions; which I hope are taken by the management in the spirit in which they are intended:

 Adjust the meat cheese ratio, and the seasoning, in the moussaka.

 Place pepper mills on each table, it wastes both diners’ and waiters’ time in having to request and serve the pepper.

Overall Opinion

A fun place, and worth a visit; we will go again.


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