In typical GFG fashion, I had managed to have a meal out by the 2nd of January (that might be a record, even for me!). Heather and I had planned a meal at Chaakoo but the place was buzzing and they couldn’t give us a table for and 1 hour and 45 minutes… as if I was going to wait that long for my food! We headed towards the Merchant City, hoping to pass somewhere we fancied on the way. Indeed, as we reached George Square, Heather suggested we visit Elia, a Greek restaurant which often goes unnoticed by passers by. I was more than happy with this idea and so we headed inside, happy to get into the cosy restaurant and out of the cold.
We decided to make our selections from the starters section of the menu, ordering a few different dishes to share. Immediately on our list was the Houmous (a favourite of Heather’s and mine) and the Fried Kalamari (well, you know me!). The Houmous was nice and didn’t taste shop-bought – there was a slight acidic kick that, I assume, came from added lemon juice (or similar). My only issue with this particular dish was the ratio of houmous to pita bread – a pleasantly large dish of houmous couldn’t possibly be mopped up with two pieces of pita each. The Kalamari, another big portion, was pretty well cooked with a nice crispy batter and accompanied by a nice creamy dip.
The Feta Saganaki was billed on the menu as “baked feta cheese in a tomato and basil sauce” – probably the most literal description you’ll find in any restaurant! A whole block of tangy feta cheese had indeed been baked in a pool of tomato sauce; a good combination and, let’s be honest, can you really go wrong with feta? The cooking process had softened the cheese ever so slightly and given it a lovely brown top, while it retained its crumbly texture and salty taste which complimented the sweet tomato sauce. Very nice indeed.
The Tigania Loukanika was our only meat choice of the evening – spicy pork sausages cooked with onions and peppers again came in a sizeable portion. There was, again, a slightly acidic taste with this dish although it didn’t work as well here as it did in the houmous. The chunks of sausage did have a nice flavour, more smoky than spicy in my opinion.
Our final choice was the Spanikopitta (their spelling, not mine) and I have to say this was my least favourite dish on the table. I’m usually a big fan of the flaky filo parcels but these ones lacked the traditional feta filling, instead being packed with spinach alone. This, for me, meant they were a bit bland and this coupled with the fact that the pastry was not quite as crispy as I would have liked meant I was a little disappointed.
All in all, Elia did pretty well with their food. The portion sizes were very reasonable, and the free bread and olives were a nice touch (despite the pretty cheap bread). I might not rush to return to Elia, but if you forced me through the door I wouldn’t be kicking and screaming.