It was a lot of fun seeing everybody else’s Mother’s Day posts, especially the throwback ones! A lot of my friends were posting photos of themselves in minified versions, either as toddlers or kids, posing cutely with their mommas with big hairs which was all the rage in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Super cute! I thought about posting my own baby photo with my Mother, whose hairdo I remember to be something like a curly triangle. But I decided to just post about where we took her for a change.
When we asked Mama where she wanted to eat for this year’s Mother’s Day, she already had a restaurant in mind: The new Greek place at D. Tuazon, Quezon City. ‘Let’s try Greekos,’ she had said. Since my brothers and I talked about chipping in for the celebration this year, I duly searched for this “Greekos” on Google and was not surprised to find that it does not exist. See my Mother has this trademark wherein she always somehow comes up with a version of a name that is always barely close but not quite. Funny enough, we her children often seem to know what she is referring to.
There was this one time we were playing a guessing game and instead of saying Hairspray she said “Spraynet”. Another time she was asking about one of Hugh Jackman’s films but called him “Jack Hughman”. (And for some reason she also calls Bill Pullman “Pull Billman” with such confidence.) And my favourite, when we were talking about new book releases she asked me if “Gregoria Phillips” had any new work. I couldn’t stop giggling as I tried to tell her the author’s name is actually Philippa Gregory. We both laughed until we were teary-eyed because she pretty much always laughs at her own “mistaken identities”. And those are just really basic examples of hilarious Mama Moments.
The name of the restaurant is actually Greeka Kouzina, and it finally opened a branch about 20 minutes away from my house. Its other branches are pretty far away from where I live. I called in a reservation right away and thank goodness I did otherwise we would’ve been relegating to the waiting area, which is where many of the clients who failed to reserve a table went. Greeka Kouzina in D. Tuazon is a relatively small two-storey affair fronted by large glass walls. The place gives off a contemporary vibe with a bit of Greek elements thrown into the mix. I have seen some photos of the other branches and I can tell you now they look a lot better in terms of interior design compared to this one.
If you’re not planning on reserving definitely come early (around 11). When we arrived for our reservation of 11.30, I spotted exactly one empty table upstairs. The place got packed real fast at around 12 noon and it stayed that way until the late lunch crowd arrived and they still had to wait a bit to get a table.
Anyway let’s get on with the food, shall we? The menu at Greeka Kouzina offers a lot of the typical Greek favourites but with what they call the Greeka twist.
For starters we ordered two salads and a pita with dip appetizer. Our dip of choice was called the Melitzanosalata, a pita dip made with charcoal-roasted eggplants. This was a phenomenal dip– creamy and playful in flavour, lightly sweet and tangy, simply perfect with the pita. I highly recommend trying this out to start a meal with a bang!
Our fair share of greens came in the form of the two salads, the first being the Fig Arugula Salad. This salad is a bright and fresh explosion of sweet in the form of candied figs and walnuts, then comes some savouriness from the sun-dried tomatoes and the cheese. The dressing was sweet and tart as well, which I adored.
Unfortunately the second salad paled in comparison with the first one. This Watercress Blue Cheese Salad was a very very mild flavoured salad, and the pungent blue cheese isn’t one of my favourites either.
As we finished off the salad, the side dishes we ordered started to arrive. Since we’re sharing all the main dishes so everyone can have a taste of everything, we distributed the side-dishes amongst ourselves too. All I can say is that the Watercress Pasta has a sauce that is a bit too thick for my taste, and the Greek Pita is definitely on the losing end after that delicious Melitzanosalata up top. However I was fine with the Spinach rice.
Now we move on to the lamb dishes, which the family always loves to order liberally when we dine in Greek restaurants. The Greeks have a way with lamb, wouldn’t you agree? The two lamb dishes we ordered couldn’t have been more different from each other both in taste and appearance.
The first is the Lamb Shoulder, which according to the menu is seasoned with Greeka’s Special Spice Mix. I was pretty curious what the house specialty spice mix would taste like so we ordered this and it was pretty good with the dip. There is both a bit of spiciness and sweetness from the lamb, and since the lamb we got was barely well-done it was quite juicy as well. In most grilled things, especially Greek-style, squirting some lemon on top makes a huge difference in flavour.
I found the Arni Yahni (Lamb Stew) a bit mild once again, although I suppose you could eat it with some olives for that burst of flavour. It is a stew cooked in red wine, with the addition of olives, tomatoes, and potatoes. I usually like dishes with red sauces but I didn’t find myself going for seconds with this dish even if the lamb was done just right.
Now my favourite meat dish was without a doubt the Beef Souvlaki. It’s char-grilled beef barbecue on a stick with some grilled vegetables, and it tasted absolutely amazing. The meat was perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked to a super juiciness. Again there is a very slight spiciness to it unique to grilled food which I loved. This was the only meat dish flavourful enough to capture attention the moment I put it in my mouth.
Of course we also ordered some seafood for this meal, made up of fish and squid. The Salmon in Avgolemono sauce was cooked in Greek wine. It’s mild-tasting alone but with a squirt of lemon and the lemon sauce that accompanies it, the fish dish becomes more delicious.
Lastly, we have the delicious Greek calamari called Kalamari Tiganito, and it’s basically fried squid with a savoury white dip.
We were so full by the time the meal was finished no one actually asked for dessert! It’s unfortunate I can’t include them in the post, but just to give you an idea of what Greeka offers in terms of sweets, they have Greek yoghurt with honey, baklava with a scoop of yoghurt, and the Greek version of apple pie.
Some people have been asking me to compare this place to Cyma, and I can honestly say that although we enjoyed our meal here, frankly I haven’t eaten in a Greek restaurant that is as good as Cyma. The food and the ambiance in Cyma is pretty spot on, and I’d be hard-pressed to name another Greek place as a favourite. Greeka Kouzina however is a bit less expensive than Cyma, but I feel like Cyma has more interesting dishes to offer. Still, this place is worth a try!
Where did you all take your Moms this Mother’s Day? I really want to know! 🙂
190 D. Tuazon St.
TCC Bldg. Quezon City
Mobile: +63917 832 1262