Tucked away in a small corner along P. Guevarra St., Greeka Kouzina's simple exteriors may easily go unnoticed by diners who have never heard of the place.
For those who have, I'm sure a certain loyalty will have been forged after that first amazing dining experience. You would have then stopped minding about having to braving through the traffic of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA and the crazily limited parking space it has. Its food is simply something that you can't help but keep coming back to.
That's why I was quite surprised to see it branching out to SM Aura. It made me wonder how this expansion will all come into play. Can the Aura branch live up to the expectations of loyal die-hard Greeka Kouzina diners? Would its homey ambiance still be maintained now that Greeka situates itself in a shopping mall?
Thus, I decided to do a little bit of experimentation. I decided to dine in its two branches within a month's time. THE FIRST VISIT: JANUARY 2, 2014 (P. GUEVARRA BRANCH)
Since we were introducing Greeka to my mom's sister, Ai Beth, for the first time, we decided to play it safe when it came to the dishes we ordered. We stuck to our usual fare, with just slight deviations.
Our first main would be their signature Arni Lemonato (P610)
, lamb roasted for five hours which made it so tender that the meat easily fell off the bones. Read more about it in my previous Greeka Kouzina article.
We decided to pair this rich and tasty main with the Roka Garides Pasta
. The shrimp and arugula pasta provided a nice contrast to the smoky flavors of the meat since the noodles were tossed in a light and zesty tomato sauce and garnished with feta cheese for that extra kick of flavor.
Roka Garides Pasta
We mistakenly ordered the Chicken Souvlaki (P430)
. We thought that it was the same as the Chicken Souvlaki Salad. Instead, the greens were replaced with slices of pita bread. The lack of greens wasn't a problem for us. Rather, it was the chicken itself which was a bit lackluster. It was dry and paled considerably in flavor compared to what we had before.
For the side, we decided to pair it up with the Moussaka
, which featured layers of grilled eggplant, ground beef, and bechamel sauce. Their moussaka is just alright for me. I prefer my mom's. However, my mom herself, and her sister, were fans of it so I guess it was acceptable.
Since we didn't finish the pita bread, we had enough room to accommodate two dessert options.
The first would be my mom and aunt's pick, the Milopita (P180)
. It featured a thin crepe like-pastry filled with sliced apples, and sprinkled with cinnamon. It was topped by a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was a so-so dessert that would satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. It was alright; however, I don't think I'll ever find myself drooling about it.
My pick for the night was the opposite. It's something that I couldn't stop drooling about and yapping about. The Greeka Yogurt (P170)
featured two lovely scoops of amazingly luscious Greek yogurt, on a bed of honey, and sprinkled with a handful of pistachios. Simply a delight in each bite!
THE SECOND VISIT: JANUARY 25, 2014 (SM AURA)
This time, I was accompanied with my mom and sister; so we had more opportunity to sample dishes we hadn't tried before.
The first would be the Krasates (P480)
, which featured two hefty pieces of perfectly grilled tender pork chops topped with a thin layer of bleu cheese walnut. This was such a delightful dish where you can certainly get your money's worth. The pork chops were tender and well marinated (that you can do without the gravy!)
For our other main dish, we decided to sample its Salmon in Avgilemeono Sauce (P530)
. This pan-fried piece of salmon was prepared perfectly. It was juicy, and was such a delight to eat on its own. I wasn't a fan of its greek wine and lemon base sauce. For me, the sauce simply overpowers the naturally delicious flavor of the salmon.
Salmon in Avgilemono Sauce
For our sides, we decided to get the Moussaka, once more. (I am really not a fan of it, but I don't get why they keep ordering it :|). We also got the lovely Watercress Salad
which was a refreshing alternative to our mains.
For both nights, I came home with a full stomach and a giddy feeling. Despite switch to going mainstream, Greeka has managed to be consistent with the quality dishes they have been known for.
Date of Visit: 2014-01-02