When in Athens, try the Meze

The lovely Cathy suggested a catch up, ‘What was Urban Greek like?’ A year since This Girl’s last visit with Boozy Friday Lunch Friend, it was time to return.

Meze is Greek for small plates. Well, more or less. It’s a traditional way of eating and its central to a culture that values bringing family together and sharing food.

Of course anyone who has eaten Greek food (and food lovers) knows there’s no such thing as a small plate. I’m led to reflect on my dearly departed Grandma, who after serving a giant Sunday roast, dessert and treats, would bring out a sponge cake and say ‘Won’t you have a little sliver? Don’t make me put this (pointing to half a cake) back in the fridge!’

Like a good Greek, or more specifically, Crete restaurant, Urban Greek serves up ‘you’re hungry, let me feed you’ portions. That’s why we chose to go with four meze plates to share. As much as to try a few dishes as to finish the meal.

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What we ate:

  • Pantzari, $8.50, beetroot and Tasmanian Greek style yoghurt. Cretan extra virgin olive oil, oregano and sesame seeds. Served with Greek pita bread.
  • Saganaki cheese, $14, grilled Greek kefalotiri with herbs and lemon and a side of homemade jam.
  • Psari forada, $22.50, pan fried prawns with spinach, silverbeet, leeks, fennel, salami and cherry tomatoes.
  • Charcoal octopus, $22.50, Pirates Bay octopus, chargrilled on charcoal, drizzled with Cretan extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and herbs.
  • Galaktoboureko, $10, a classic Greek dessert of creamy custard in filo pastry and served with a clear, raw sugar syrup.

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The vibrant beetroot dip was silky smooth with the perfect proportion of yoghurt so as not to be overpowered by the strong earthy flavours of the beets. The house-made pita bread is the best going around.

Grilled Greek cheese is always delicious but always, ALWAYS eat it as soon as it’s served piping hot and molten. Urban Greek’s twist on the fried cheese is the accompaniment of a figgy jam, one of the loveliest partnerships known to civilization.

We tried the prawns on recommendation from one of the ridiculously lovely table attendants. To diverge briefly, service is right up there at Urban Greek and everyone working the floor the night we were there were delightful.

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There’s lots of good flavours in the psari forada which would have benefited from a crusty roll or timbale of rice to soak up the creamy sauce. I finished this dish wondering about my choice and imaging the prawns kataifi gratinee with pastry, cream and Ouzo. Next time.

The absolute stand out dish, without a doubt, was the octopus. Allegedly, it’s beaten 50 times to tenderise the meat and then finished off on a charcoal grill. Whatever the secret, it was the most perfectly cooked octopus I have ever eaten. I repeat, have EVER eaten. If you’re a fan, you must get yourself some.

A delicate baked custard with the finest layer of filo, the galaktoboureko, is a delicious way to end a meal. We were full with our meze plates and shared this dessert because it would have been wrong to have left without it.

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Urban Greek is on the money. They’re delivering delicious Crete cuisine with fantastic service in a modern setting. Go! Eat!

They’re located at 103 Murray Street, Hobart.

They’re open for lunch Friday and Sunday, 12 noon – 2 pm and dinner Monday to Sunday, 5 pm – 10 pm.

Book on line or call them on 03 6109 4712.

Our first visit to Urban Greek.

What else is in the neighbourhood? Why not try Westend Pumphouse or Ettie’s?

One thought on “When in Athens, try the Meze

  1. Urban Greek is my favourite of all restaurants I have been to; in Hobat on the mainland of Australia and overseas. It is not just a meal it is an experience, a delight: a total treat. I love the people the food and the venue passionately. Is the synergy of all of these that make it such a stand out experience. You can feel the love of the Urban Greek team in what they do. They share that with you and it is more than money can buy

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