Greece is high on everyone’s topic of conversation these days. The economic turmoil going is having its affect on the rest of Europe and the world economy. Greek fashion is also getting a bit of attention these days with the likes of Mary Katrantzou designs being on everyone’s (well mine at least) to die for list, her designs are beautifully crafted, bold and oh so beautiful.
Many of my friends have also opted to head to the beautiful Greek islands as well for their summer vacation destination. So in London, the closest I can get to Greece is checking out the newest Greek restaurant that has opened up in Notting Hill.
Mazi is not your regular greek restaurant of dips and grilled meats, instead its a modern version of the Greek food, which means beautifully presented (smaller portions of) food with an innovative presentation and flavours.
We were kindly treated to a little shot of aperitif, I cannot remember what it was called, but it was a lemony ouzo like shot just cleanse our palettes.
To start off we went for the spanakopita, traditionally served as dill and feta filo pastry triangles, Mazi brought in the deconstructed craze concept and placed it in a cute jar. I quite like the concept and enjoyed drushing the pastry and mixing it with the cheese and dill. The flavours were quite punchy but also greasy as you would expect from pure pastry and cheese…
Mama’s “meatabaaalls” were absolutely delicious. Beautiful juicy lamb little balls with a bitey little dip. Must say that I would’ve have liked a little more dip – with the way they beautiful presented the dish it also meant that it was hard to get the dip sauce on the balls.
My friend C and I are both brazilian and lovers of all things cheesy. So when we saw the combination of prawns (one of my favourite “proteins”) and saganaki cheese we both immediately agreed that this dish would be on the top of our order. Unfortunately there was something not quite right with flavours in this dish that we couldn’t quite put our finger on. The prawn itself wasn’t that tasty, and I think there was a spice (perhaps clove?) that was used that gave it a strange flavour. There was also only 3 prawns in the cute pot, luckily it wasn’t a delicious dish otherwise we may have been fighting over the last one!
The herb crusted lamb was on the “signature dish” section, which I guess means its extra special. What it also meant is that it was extra tricky to share. Beautifully presented on a slate dish was a beautifully sweet shredded lamb filled baklava, a (small) perfectly juicy and pink herb crusted lamb and a square of roast potato square. The dish was delicious and deserving to be branded “signature” but it was a portion for one person only. This was inconsistent with the statement on the top of the menu that it is all meant to be shared by the whole table. I would say that the dips and appetizers could be shared, but the way they present the mains and the portion sizes are not really for sharing. One suggestion would be for the waiters to explain how to order like they do in many other restaurants these days.
As we were leaving, the place really started to fill up and have a great friendly little buzz. There is a cute little courtyard in the back that I would imagine would be lovely for a sunny lazy lunch.
The food and atmosphere at Mazi was very different to your typical Greek restaurant. The food was definitely innovative, bursting with flavours and beautifully presented. The place itself very typical of the new bright and modern look cafes and restaurants are going for these days. It would be nice to go with a slightly bigger group to share more of the dips and appetisers and try some of their Greek wine!
PS. Nostimo means delicious in Grrrrrreek 🙂
12-14 HILLGATE STREET