It’s unfortunate that Greek cuisine is so vastly underrepresented in Abu Dhabi. Aside from Acropolis at the Le Meridien and Mr. Greek at Yas Mall, there are very few options when it comes to appeasing your moussaka and souvlaki fix.
Enter Eat Greek Kouzina a brand which has successfully managed to changed the perception of Greek food in the capital, coming to us from the team at Food Fund International (FFI) who are also responsible for the likes of The Meat Co, The Grill Shack, Tribes and afterwork hot spot Bentley Kitchen.
In fact, it’s half of the Bentley Kitchen space that’s now home to the first branch of Eat Greek Kouzina in Abu Dhabi (there are also three in Dubai and one at Athens airport in Greece), an establishment where dinner with a view is high on the agenda! Entering into the compact space, Eat Greek takes on a charming and somewhat rustic feel, accompanied by views over the water helping to recreate that Mykonos/Santorini/Kefalonia Island taverna feel.
Service is snappy and personable as we are led to a table by the window (it’s still a little warm to be dining on the quaint al fresco terrace), where our name has been placed on a small whiteboard as a nice personalised greeting. A small bar peeps out from the back of the room, slightly elevated above the dining room and its clusters of wooden furniture. A great advantage considering this particular branch of Eat Greek is the only one in the UAE to served ‘adult drinks’ which are strong, punchy and not to be missed.
As Eat Greek reach their first anniversary in the capital, the restaurant has recently revamped their menu, brining in some new dishes while refining some of the most popular items, it’s a smart move that will likely help to keep the interest of regular customers (of which there appear to be many when we dine) and a means of attracting a new crowd.
As someone of Greek heritage, it should be noted that not all of the dishes are authentically Greek. The menu draws inspiration from the cuisine rather than being wholly traditional, though the result is good and easily makes for the best place to currently Eat Greek (see what we did there) in Abu Dhabi.
Our meals begins with warm pita bread and a trio of dips (AED 45), of which we select the creamy fish based taramasalata, the smoky eggplant melitzanosalata and the cool Greek staple tzatziki, all of which are devoured in moments.
While they majority of appetisers revolved around seafood, a given considering Greece is is a country surrounded by sea and made up of more the 6000 islands. While the Kadaifi wrapped prawns and fried calamari certainly sounded appealing, we settle on the Keftedakia (AED 55), a new addition to the menu featuring flavoursome beef meatballs served in a rich coulis made from sun-kissed red florina peppers.
The main courses take diners on a tour of Greece via a selection of fresh salads (with the new Watermelon & Manouri being a particular favourite), Greek pies and of course, Souvlaki. Meat is also on the agenda with the Filetto Eat Greek (AED 145), a 300g beef fillet topped with crushed Kalamata olives, barrel aged feta and tomato which imparts an additional flavour to the beautifully grilled beef.
Grilled Octopus (AED 153) is one of the most popular dishes, but has undergone minor refinement to the plate. The slow cooked octopus presents a pleasing char to the extremely tender tentacle, with additional texture appears in the Santorini fava bean salad which brings a sweetness via the use of apple. Served alongside salicornia, this would be out Out & About recommendation should you dine at Eat Greek Kouzina.
With the Baklava Cheese Cake sold out on the day we dined, we found the Loukoumades doughnuts (AED 35) served with lavender honey and Nutella to be a worthy replacement, though the Orange Pie (AED 35) was a little too dense for our liking.
Eat Greek’s successes lie in bringing the flavours of Greece into the upmarket Galleria Mall while still managing to keep the prices at an acceptable level. The small space easily creates a lively atmosphere and a sense of the Meditarranean is encapsulated by the blue and white textiles and wooden shuttering used throughout the restaurant space.
With an impressive array of dishes including some exciting new additions, this is the only place to Eat Greek in the capital.