Kaffana

Today on the Dining Diaries…

As meat platters appear on other people’s tables, dining envy grows,
Special moussaka was truly special  and
One of us is already setting the date for our next visit and he definitely will be  ordering a meat platter.

Diners today we were at Kaffana in that ever happening, “Hipster” paradise, Peel Street.

18767414_1429320747127999_1531879982924820872_n.jpgKaffana is a Serbian Meat restaurant and hubby had been seeing their ads on Facebook for sometime and has been getting quite enticed by them! I mean how can a meat lover go past those pictures of meat trays!

We were here at 6pm on a Friday night. It was heavily booked. Lots of people were waiting to enter the dining room.
Dim lighting, easy listening music in the background, exposed red brick walls and lots of wood all contributed to making us feel comfortable and welcome.


A server finally called our name and brought us to our table. I wasn’t sure who she was at first as she was a tiny thing in old sneakers and a black beanie with a few strands of platinum blonde hair coming through. But maybe that’s just the way things are in this sort of place.

The menu was pretty cute although it was a bit hard to see because of the dim lighting. They have old “little golden books” there and have pasted their menu to the pages of the story. I liked the idea, especially as I was always walking around with at least one “little golden book” in my hand when I was a kid.

Hubby and I had a look through the menu and he was so disappointed when I said I just couldn’t see myself having half a meat tray. I don’t mind meat, sometimes I even like it but in small quantities. I did feel a little bad for him though when other tables near us started having meat trays brought out to them…

We decided to start with the Moussaka to share as an entree. It was on their specials board and said it was served with sour cream. I didn’t know how that was going to work but was curious to try it. I normally really love moussaka and am still looking for the perfect one.

FullSizeRender[3]

It was very hard to take a decent photo because of the dim lighting but I hope you get an idea.

The moussaka was certainly special and not traditional.  I couldn’t see or taste any bechemel but then that probably wouldn’t have matched with the sour cream on top. I couldn’t find eggplant in there either but maybe it was. After all, what’s a moussaka without eggplant right?
It was absolutely delicious though. So much flavor! Makes me want to try to make it myself.
Hubby and I were fighting to make sure we got half each.

As per their menu, all meals come with “mammas” bread which was quite damper like. Very toasty warm and a little smokey tasting. I loved it!
The meals also come with potato salad and coleslaw? It was like a coleslaw sans mayonnaise.
FullSizeRender[4]

The potato salad looked nice and it had spring onions in it. 
Hubby didn’t want to eat it before our mains came and when I say he didn’t want to eat it, I mean he didn’t want US to eat it. That includes me. I was starving and it was so hard not to.

For main I chose Karakjordjeva. The menu described it as “Kaffana’s version of a Karadjordjeva schnitzel (no bread crumbs) , char grilled tenderised veal filled with ricotta, danish feta and cooked streaky bacon.”

FullSizeRender[1]
I’m not sure what I expected it to look like but probably not that.

That kind of looks like something the dog left behind.

FullSizeRender

I have to say though that it tasted quite exceptional.

When you cut into it the ricotta oozed out.

I didn’t know there was supposed to be bacon in there and couldn’t really taste it but it was really so rich and full of flavour that I couldn’t have eaten more than that small roll.

Hubby ordered the Pork Skewers “Char-grilled, crisp and tender skewered park scotch pieces”
FullSizeRender[2]

Hubby said his was near heaven. I got to taste a little morsel too. They were just flavoured perfectly. Moist, tender with a gorgeous charcoal taste.
In his words, “Just f’n delicious “

Though the portions seemed small I felt like I’d eaten a lot by the end.

If you’re a meat eater, it would be definitely worth it to save up a few pennies and head on down to Peel Street and have a meal at Kaffana. Don’t be like us though, do yourself a favour and order the meat platter!!!

Have you been to Kaffana?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow….

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.

FullSizeRender (26)
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

FullSizeRender (27)
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….

Zak’s Restaurant

Today on the Dining Diaries…

Music and food aromas transport us to the Greek Isles,
Well cooked meat soothes the savage beast uptight man
and a Moussaka worth driving to West Lakes for…

zak4.jpgDiners today we were at Zak’s Restaurant, beautifully situated between the Westfield shopping centre and water at West Lakes.

I called them before we arrived as it was 1.55pm and I wanted to be sure they were still serving lunch. I’d just called another place I won’t name, who said lunch was till 2pm only. 2pm???? On a Saturday? Who is even thinking about lunch before 2pm on a Saturday?

But let me not waste words on that place…

The first thing I noticed as I walked in was the wonderful food aroma! It made me instantly hungry!! There were tables available inside and out and we chose to eat outside and take advantage of the beautiful water view.

zak1Although it was an overcast day in Adelaide, it still was a gorgeous sight and with the Greek music playing, the wonderful aromas, the waiters with accents and the slightly dated furniture, it felt like we’d been whisked away to the Greek Isles.

I was prepared to indulge this fantasy!

I ordered a red wine and I wish I could remember which it was now as it was delicious and I was now fully relaxed!

As soon as hubby mentioned Zak’s Restaurant I started thinking Moussaka. I’d been craving one for a while since I don’t feel I’ve ever eaten a good one in any of the Greek restaurants I’ve been to. The menu had a lot of tempting options on there but I was resolute and ordered the Moussaka. Hubby went for the Mixed Grill. Again, I couldn’t fault his choice as we’re in a Greek restaurant, how could he not have meat?

We watched meals coming out and started salivating. They looked sooooo good!

There’s a fine balance in between meals coming out too early or late. You really don’t want either but at Zak’s restaurant it seemed just right. We’d had time to unwind, enjoy the atmosphere a bit and let ourselves get hungry anticipating our food

We both were not disappointed as we watched our food being put down before us.

Hubby’s mixed grill looked pretty good.

zak3

Look at that meat! It included lamb cutlet, pork souvlaki, chicken souvlaki, chevapchichi, served with chips and salad.
The salad was dressed beautifully. Thank you Zak’s!
Hubby immediately went into his food cone of silence so I knew he was enjoying everything he had. He later said the meat had a really good char grilled taste and everything was cooked and seasoned beautifully. I asked him if he could fault anything and he said no. I mean look at it, it looks pretty perfect! Once he had finished all he had left on his plate were a few bones. It was all completely devoured.

I thought my Moussaka looked pretty good. It looked to be a generous serve!

zak2

I had the same salad as hubby with a liberal amount of beautiful dressing on it. You could tell they used quality ingredients.
The moussaka was pretty good too. Lots of meat and eggplant and potato. The potato was soft and easy to get through. I’m not sure if I’m expecting something wrong but again I would have thought there should be slightly more bechamel sauce in there. However what I did have I thoroughly enjoyed, It was hot and comforting and very tasty . The cheese on top had been grilled and was crispy without being burnt. It was really a lovely dish.

Zak’s restaurant have been finalists in the Awards for Excellence in the past and you can tell they care about what they serve from the wait staff, to the kitchen, to the owners, they all want you to have a good experience and they will work hard to do it.

It was all Greek to us and we liked it!

Have you been to Zak’s Restaurant?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!

Till next we chow…

Cafe Astros

Today on The Dining Diaries,

Staff who anticipate our every thought.
Serves to make us shout “Opa!” and
Dessert good enough to leave room for.

Exterior.jpgDiners today we dined at Cafe Astros

I really didn’t know this place existed. Tucked away on Sussex St. in Hawthorn, I’ve probably even driven past this Greek restaurant many times and have never noticed it.

Hubby emailed me the menu during the day and all I’d been craving was a good Moussaka.I was so in!

FullSizeRenderIt’s not a large place. The tiled pattern lino floor almost made me want to turn back but we didn’t and I’m glad because most of what we had here was exceptional.
A waiter guided us to the warmest seat in the place (It was bitterly cold tonight!!) and took our drink orders.
Not sure if he was an owner but he really seemed invested in wanting us to have a good time. I watched him with other diners throughout the night, always attentive, always a step ahead and wanting to please without being intrusive. It made you feel special and welcome.
Although the decor could use a lot of sprucing up, it was clean and comfortable.

It was cold, and we were very hungry so we ordered an entree to start off with.

FullSizeRender (5)

Wagyu Beef Meatballs served with salsa & pita

We were so hungry that we had actually started eating before I took this photo.

The first thing I tried was the salsa and it was so divine. Sweet and flavoursome.

In fact I loved that even more than the meatballs themselves.

I could have had a plate of that with some crusty continental bread but I digress!

That plate did what an entree should do – make you excited for the food to come!

FullSizeRender (3)
Moussaka

I ordered the Home Made Moussaka served with salad.

Again the first thing I noticed was how fresh everything looked! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more inviting salad!
The moussaka was not exactly what I was expecting. It was nice, but I think I would have prefered more bechemel and I couldn’t really taste a lot of eggplant even though I could see it was in there. It wasn’t unpleasant, I liked what I had, it just wasn’t how I imagined it would be. I would like to have been there with someone who regularly eats this dish to see what they would have thought.
On such a cold night though, it definitely did the job of warming my insides!

FullSizeRender (4)
Souvlaki

Hubby ordered the Mixed Souvlaki  – choice of 2, either lamb, chicken or prawn, chargrilled and served with chips, salad, tzatziki & pita

He ordered one lamb and one chicken. Again, everything looked fabulously fresh on the plate. Even the chips had been fried in fresh oil.
He went straight for the lamb first and it was just so delicious. Miraculously he shared a bit with me so I can attest to that! Char-grilling gives such a wonderful flavour.

We were sitting in front of the fridges that staged the desserts so it was inevitable that we would have some. They just looked too good!

Blueberry cheesecake and baklava. Both large serves and very reasonably priced.
The cheesecake seemed wonderfully rich. I only had a little spoonful. Not sure I could have eaten the entire slice but hubby devoured it like he’d never seen food before.
Normally you think of a Baklava as being rich but this one wasn’t overly so. It was drenched in that honey water and tasted beautiful but it wasn’t sickening. There was a strong nut taste inside that stayed with me all the drive home.

I almost forgot to mention that they  have $0 corkage on BYO bottles of wine on Tuesday and Wednesday all day. I can’t remember the last time I saw that!

I’m really glad we made it to Cafe Astros and I hope this review encourages some of you to visit it also.

Have you been to Cafe Astros?
What did you think?
Let me know int he 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.
tile_venue_1_British+Hotel_640x640.jpg
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.

FullSizeRender (2)
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

FullSizeRender (4)
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

FullSizeRender (3)
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…