Ellenika

Today on the Dining Diaries,

The “specials” mustn’t have been special enough to mention,
One person’s “substantial” is another person’s entree size and
I’m still chasing the moussaka dream….

FullSizeRender (21).jpgDiners today we were at Ellenika Traditional Greek Taverna on the Marina Pier at Glenelg. This location has had a few changes in ownership over the last few years and I had been interested to come and visit since it became Ellenika.

It really was a gorgeous Spring day in Adelaide today and the Glenelg pier was streaming with people. We were quite early for lunch and the first thing I noticed as we walked into this establishment was the Greek music playing. I loved that! As I’ve always mentioned, if you’re going to pick a cuisine, you should also have that nation’s music playing.

The restaurant is decorated in the usual Greek “Blue and White” although I didn’t seem to capture that in the photos below. I thought the atmosphere was pretty good and I was eager to have a look through the menu.


Now I had searched for a website online but all that really came up was a Facebook page. That Facebook page however, did show a menu and on that menu was Moussaka!! I’ve been dying to have a good moussaka for quite some time. Every time I order it, it’s never what I expect its going to be.
When we were handed the menu’s today though, there was no moussaka on there! I must admit, I was a bit disappointed. I asked the waitress when she came to take our order if they had Moussaka. She checked with the kitchen and said they’d run out last night and were prepping some for tonight – so – no Moussaka for me right now. Ah well.

There were lots of yummy sounding things on the menu though and I even tried a Greek wine which ended up being quite pleasant.

After we’d ordered, I noticed the specials board and kind of wished I’d changed my selections.  I don’t know why the waitress didn’t mention them before we ordered.

As there was no Moussaka and I felt like eggplant, I chose the Imam Baildi – Whole Eggplant filled with caramelised onion and tomato oven baked and served with a side of tzatziki and continental bread.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that this says “Whole Eggplant”. This dish was only $14 though so it made me think it wasn’t going to be that big. I asked the waitress and she said “Oh no, it’s a main and it’s quite substantial!”
OK… I took her word for it but as I wasn’t quite sure, we ordered a trio of dips for entree and a serve of spanokopita.

Everything on the menu was very reasonably priced in my opinion – in fact, surprisingly so.

When the entree’s came out I thought they looked delicious! The dips (from left) were potato garlic, fish roe blended with lemon juice and olive oil and tzatziki.
All the dips were divine!!! Very creamy and full of substance and flavour. The pita was warmly toasted and it was all very lovely and filling.

The spanokopita was equally delicious. Flaky pastry surrounded a warm and flavour filled filling. It had a nice strong spinach taste and was sitting on a bed of sweet tomato sauce which I mopped up with some of that pita!
Both plates were very delicious and hubby and I wondered if we’d now ordered too much because we still had our mains to come!

For main, hubby chose Souvlaki Hirino – Two skewers of tender pork fillet, marinated and skewered cooked on the chargrill and dressed with lemon oil. Served with roasted lemon potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables.

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It looked pretty good! Hubby was pretty much happy with everything although he said if he had to be picky, the pork could have been marinated more and it was perhaps a little dry. However the flavours were amazing and he enjoyed eating it.

My substitute Moussaka dish was the Imam Baildi as previously mentioned

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Now I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like a whole eggplant to me and remember this is a main. The waitress specifically said it was “substantial” which was her exact word. I know I can be a big eater but this is not a substantial meal. And it certainly isn’t a “whole” eggplant as the menu suggests. Where’s the rest of my eggplant?

Once I got over the size I really enjoyed this dish. It had a strong eggplant taste and the bread was perfectly toasted continental bread. I could have done without so much tzatziki however that would have left almost nothing on the plate.

In summary, the things I’ve “picked” on have been small. Let me say again, the prices here are really good and the staff are super friendly and really want you to enjoy their food.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this place if you want to have a Greek experience! Well done Ellenkia, we’ll be back!

Have you eaten at Ellenika?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow….

The British

FullSizeRender (7).jpgToday on the Dining Diaries…

We are given the choice to BBQ our own meat,
We find out if bechemel sauce is a necessary ingredient for Moussaka
and staff sing the praises for another pub across town.

It certainly was a lovely day in Adelaide today and I quite enjoyed the drive to The British hotel that ended up taking us through the city.
I had never been to the British before, though I’d been up and down Melbourne St a million times in my life, I’d never even know of this pub that was around the corner.

It looked nice enough from the outside; quaint even. We walked in and a lovely staff member saw us right away and took us to a table.
I immediately loved the decor in this place. Corrugated iron, chunky wooden slat tables and chairs with wrought iron. Lovely greenery throughout and red pavers on the ground to give you the illusion of being outdoors, even though we were in heated comfort. It felt familiar and comfortable.
Music was playing that was loud enough to be heard, but not so loud that it was a distraction.

I ordered an Annie Lane’s Cabernet Merlot and read through the menu.
I thought it was a nice varied menu and was determined to get something different this time.
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The most interesting thing about the menu, and in fact, the British Hotel, is that for a discounted price, they allow you to cook your own meat.

Hubby and I thought this might be fun to do if you were coming down with a group but honestly, I think I spend enough hours cooking at home and was happy enough to trust a professional to do it in the kitchen.

I think it’s a great novelty though and I’m sure many people have done this in the past.

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Wedges

Being a little boring, we started off with some Wedges to share, served with sweet chili and sour cream.
Hubby can’t go past a good piece of meat these days and ordered the Sirloin. I felt a little more adventurous (for me) and ordered the Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka with asparagus salad and red capsicum sauce.

Always eager to make sure we’ve made a good choice I eagerly watched other dishes coming out. They looked gorgeously grand and seemed to be quite generous serves. Tick!

I wasn’t disappointed when my lentil moussaka came out.
It looked so colourful and smelt wonderful. I don’t often eat lentils but I do like them so this was a treat for me today.
I’m usually a huge fan of moussaka so I was really curious to see how they were going to make a lentil moussaka

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Eggplant and Spicy Lentil Moussaka

The lentils were just divine and there was just enough spice to bring an immediate warmth to your mouth, but not to overpower the taste. I could still taste that delightful eggplant and with all the elements combined it was a party in my mouth! Well done!

FullSizeRender (5)My only criticism is that I wouldn’t have called this dish a Moussaka.
What part of it made it a moussaka? That it had eggplant? Because for me, that’s where it would have ended.
There was no cheese or bechemel sauce in this dish, nothing to indicate to me that it was a moussaka.

I may be wrong in my assumption of what makes a moussaka. Either way, it was delicious anyway and it’s probably sexier to call it a moussaka rather than lentils wrapped in eggplant… So I do get it, it just wasn’t exactly what I was expecting even if I enjoyed it all the same.

Hubby’s sirloin looked great when it came out too

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Sirloin Steak

If I was to have any criticism, I would just say the dish itself looked a little boring. There were really only two colours on here. Perhaps a little bit of green might have lifted the presentation and made you feel like you were eating something special.

As it was, the meat was really well cooked and beautifully tender. Hubby asked for it FullSizeRender (6)medium rare.

It looks kind of medium to me in this pic, however as he got more into it, parts of it were definitely rare, bordering blue.

Although I normally don’t eat a lot of meat, this is how I love my steaks and hubby wasn’t complaining about it either as he said the flavours were really delicious.
There were a few pieces of sinew in there which kind of spoilt his experience a little but I guess you have to expect that maybe?

Another small criticism is that I wasn’t asked at any point if I wanted more wine and hubby and I weren’t asked how are meals were.
I think it’s really important to make sure the diner is happy with how their steak has been cooked especially. However, this is a minor criticism as we had no complaints.

While we were paying for our meal, I got talking to a staff member and I was telling him how I was really enjoying visiting different places that I normally wouldn’t have gone to and he asked me if I’d been to the Publishers Hotel.
I said in fact yes I have! And that I had been really impressed. He said he’d also heard it was really good and was really looking forward to going there himself.

All in all, a very satisfying experience.

Have you eaten at The British? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!

Till next we chow…

The Tonsley

tonsley-hotel-homepage.jpgToday on the Dining Diaries, wait staff will be turned into zombies,  diners will be squeezed around tables that barely have room for their mains let alone any sides and excitement will be kept to that absolute minimum.

There were four of us dining tonight. We had never been to The Tonsley but it’s local for all of us and we felt like a pub style meal so we decided to give it a go.

We walked into a large room with decent sized tables, but none of them were being used. I don’t think it was a function room as the main entrance was into that room and we had to go through it to get to the Bistro part.
The only reason this is significant is because I had made a booking for four, and when we were shown to our table I realised it was going to be a very cosy fit! I’m not sure why they wouldn’t have had us at a bigger table.
The Bistro did fill a little more while we were there but certainly not enough to have even moved a couple of tables together so that we could have dined in comfort. As it was, we didn’t order anything but one main each as there wouldn’t have been room on the table.

The atmosphere was nice enough with dim lighting and tables with people nearby. We were given some menus and chuffed along to our little table.
I had already looked at the menu online and was really excited to try the eggplant parmigiana.

Once we ordered,  bread was brought to our table by a waiter devoid of emotion.
Thankfully the butter was already at room temperature. Don’t you hate it when they bring you bread and butter and the butter is rock hard and not spreadable?

I watched other meals being brought out. They looked like regular pub fare and perhaps a little boring but they seemed to be large serves and that always makes me happy.
The wait staff looked disinterested as they brought the food out, with expressions that shouted “don’t engage me in conversation”
Having said that, there were lots of people in there eating so they must be doing something right.

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Eggplant Parmigiana

When my Eggplant Parmigiana came out I was pretty excited! It looked delicious. When I saw those two mounds, I thought they were thinly sliced eggplant inside, and the crumbing was around that, however what I found was the inside was one huge chunk of eggplant.

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Eggplant Parmigiana -inside

I didn’t mind because I love eggplant, but cutting it so thick like that means that it’s not well seasoned so that was really lacking for me.

It’s really such a shame as it could have been a delicious dish.

The Napolitana sauce and cheese on top was nice, but because there was such a huge amount of unseasoned eggplant underneath, it didn’t seem like there was enough. I could barely taste it unless I ate it on it’s own.

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Twice Cooked Pork Belly

 

 

Two of us ordered the Twice Cooked Pork Belly. Oven roasted sticky pork belly fingers served on whipped sweet potato.

While they both enjoyed their meals, it seemed like they’d been served a fine dining meal in a pub.

A few bites and it was gone.

The pork however, was cooked well and they had no complaints about what they ate, it just wasn’t special.

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Waygu Beef Burger

 

 

 

The last meal we ordered was the Waygu Beef Burger.

They make it well known that it was voted best burger at some point.

I was told the burger was ok but nothing special.
It certainly looked ok, but not having tasted it I can’t comment.

The fries were nice and crispy too. It was a satisfying meal but nothing you’d rush back for.

 

 

 

All in all, our experience was ok. I don’t think we’ll ever go to the Tonsley again however there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with out food. It seemed like everyone had taken a chill pill when we entered – staff and diners alike.

We ended up picking up some snacks on the way home and had some lively games of backgammon while chit chatting about nothing in particular. Now THAT was fun!

 

Have you been to the Tonsley? What was your experience like?

Let me know in the comments below…

Till next we chow…