Saturday, September 30, 2006
Green Olives Special crack, tsakkistes
Lamb Kleftiko Slow cooked beef in the oven
Dolmades Vine leaves staffed with mince pork
Tavas Traditional Cyprus dish consisted of meat cubes, chopped potatoes, onionomatoes, and onions
We thought we'd phone ahead and order but after finding the number constantly engaged for more than fifteen minutes (I joked that one of the chefs would be on the phone to one of their relatives in Greece), I decided to walk down there myself. The first thing I noticed as I walked into the restaurant was that it was empty, bar one table which I realised was occupied by the staff. When I mentioned the phone being engaged, guilty looks were exchanged - turns out I was right after all. I ordered Lamb Kleftiko with roast potatoes for Mike and Lamb Souvla for me which they didn't have, so I had to settle for Lamb Cutlets instead. They told me it would take half an hour which made me wonder who long it would take if the restaurant was busy.
I went back half an hour later to find the restarant still empty of customers, while all five staff attended to our food. I got home and left Mike to open the boxes of food while I washed my hands. I heard a loud gasp coming from the kitchen so I shouted "what's it like?" Silence. I shouted the same question again to which Mike replied "Oh my God". I hurried to the kitchen where two polystyrene boxes lay open containing something which was supposed to be food. Mine was three scraggy bits of lamb with a few soggy chips and Mike's was two scraggy bits of lamb with four boiled potatoes. I'd paid £14.50 for this!? I immediately put my coat back on and trudged back to the restaurant a third time while Mike went to get pizza. I refused to let him come with me, my track record of receiving refunds about 100% so I was feeling confident.
What happened next was a bit of a blur. To put it mildly, my request for a refund did not go down well. When I told them that the potatoes were not roasted but boiled, it went down even less well. Arguments ensued, insults exchanged. "Are you a chef?" one of them asked me. "Are you Greek?". I certainly am neither, but could give their overpriced tat a run for it's money. At one point, the 'chef' threatened to call the police and screamed "I been a chef for twelve years" as she hysterically punched random numbers into the phone. I phoned Mike to tell him what was going on and when I'd finished speaking to him one of them asked me "Who sent you?". I didn't know what to say to this ridiculous question. I told them I wasn't surprised that their restaurant was empty on a Friday night and that this was no way to treat a customer. I left with a bruised ego and an empty wallet. Mike spotted the steam coming out of my ears down the end of road before he saw me. I threatened to take the 'roast potato' to Trading Standards.
Romios Magirion - 21 Crouch Hill, London N4 4AP
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Our favourite area of Lisbon was the Barrio Alto. Packed full of restaurants and cool bars, it's far the best area to go out in the evening. We went there in the daytime and only had a few scrawny cats for company. But in the evening it was completely unrecognisable. It looked as though the residents had their doors wide open, until we looked inside and saw yet another funky little bar. We sipped Caipirinhas and wandered through the packed streets listening to soulful Portuguese Fado music drift through the windows.
Caipirinha, the traditional Brazilian drink prepared with cachaça our favourite cocktail. We never paid more than €5 and we even found a bar that did it for €2, so we drank as much as we could knowing how much it costs back home. If you can get hold of a bottle of cachaça, it's worth making at home.
1 lime quartered
1 tablespoon of sugar
A liberal slug of cachaça
1 Cup of ice cubes
Place the lime and sugar in the bottom of a glass.
Using a rolling pin , crush and mash the limes until all the juice has been extracted.
If you have an ice-crushing machine, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, put the ice cubes in a plastic bag and bash with a hammer until crushed. Pour the cachaça over the ice. Stir well.