On Monday evening I went to Greek restaurant Mazi in Notting Hill for dinner with the lovely ladies from Purple PR and three other bloggers and journalists. It was an intimate affair with the six of us sat outside in the cute little garden, sharing plates upon plates of delicious Greek food and Tzatziki Martinis.
I'm a huge fan of Greek food, especially since my trip to Kefalonia on the Greek Islands last year, so I was very much looking forward to sampling the cooking of world-renown Chef George Venieris. George has been crowned 'Best Greek Chef' for two years running by Conde Nast Traveller, so I knew we were in for a treat!
We started with thick crusty bread with olive oil, before being presented with our refreshing Tzatziki Martinis and Mastiha Mojitos - perfect for the warm evening we were basking in.
Then out came the food, while the clouds started to crowd overhead. No matter though, the outside terrace has a retractable roof which came in very handy when the weather took its unexpected turn. But back to the food. We started with Fish roe mousse Tarama with lemon caviar, which was scooped out of its jar and slathered onto the thick bread we'd been given earlier. Along with the Fish roe mousse, the Spicy tiropita with broken filo pastry and grilled leeks was also scooped and slathered....after smashing the filo pastry with my fork, of course.
The next jars we tasted were the Grilled aubergine with soy and thyme honey and Squid ink fava bean purée and fried calamari. The Squid Ink jar has to be one of my favourite dishes of the night, it was mindblowingly tasty; the Squid ink fava bean puree coated the calamari, to the point that biting down on the squidgy calamari came as a lovely unexpected surprise with each mouthful.
The Greek Salad that was served up next was a delicious palate cleanser, with the flavours refreshing, and a harsh reminder that my M&S Greek Salad that I have daily just can't match up to the real thing.
The Courgette cakes with cucumber and mint dip were another favourite of mine, I think this is why I love Greek food so much - they love courgettes (or Zucchini) just as much as I do!
Already getting full-up, and nowhere near the end, I ploughed on like any good food blogger would! After all, the best was yet to come! Starting with the Feta tempura with sweet caper meringue and lemon marmalade, this was a moreish delight. The melted feta oozed from the cracked tempura batter so quickly I had to shovel it into my mouth. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it all over again.
Phew, ok, at this point I was very full. But nope, still more to go, and the heaviest courses of them all - the meat. In photographic order; beef, rabbit, and chicken. The rabbit was a melt in the mouth moment, that's for sure, and the mushrooms that accompanied the black truffle chicken were sauteed in the most delicious sauce.
Ok, next was my favourite. Grilled octopus and parsley potato salad.
I'm so happy that these were all sharing plates, otherwise I never would have survived! I really enjoyed sharing dishes with people I'd only just met, it was a really great ice-breaker as we all umm-d and aah-d and discussed each component of each dish.
We finally finished the main courses, and started on the desserts. We tried three...
Galaktoboureko soaked in sweet syrup with milk custard, this came a very close second to my favourite dessert. The presentation was effortlessly impressive, and the pastry was crisp and the inside thick and creamy.
Greek Yoghurt mousse, quince pudding, cinnamon rusks. Very light, very refreshing, and very 'it's summer!', this was an enjoyable dessert, but I'm not really a 'light dessert' sorta gal.
My personal favourite however....
Loukoumades, lavender honey, and chocolate sorbet. The Loukoumades were very much like pastry donuts, and were voted one of the best donuts in London by the Evening Standard! I can definitely see why, light and sickeningly sweet, they were the perfect end to a wonderful dinner. Can I please have them every day?!
I had a lovely evening with excellent food and even better company, and thanks to the retractable roof we barely noticed the rain coming down around us! We were also lucky enough to have a chat to the owners, Adrien and Christina, and learned that Mazi was created from their love for Greece and Greek food, with Christina originally from the Greek city Thessaloniki. Apparently one of her family members goes out diving every day for a particularly type of seaweed, and then has it shipped over to them fresh!
Inside Mazi is light, airy, clean, and fresh...it just feels good. It's so refreshing to have a light and airy restaurant rather than these moody in-vogue ones where you can barely see what you're eating. I was also shocked to hear that Mazi currently has a waiting list of over 300 people every Saturday night, however, after tasting the food, maybe I shouldn't be so shocked.
If you love Greek food, definitely pay Mazi a visit, but maybe don't try and get in on a Friday or Saturday night. Weekdays are their quietest times, and make sure to make the most of this gorgeous weather and ask for a table outside! They also have a very reasonable set lunch menu, which is worth checking out if you're on a budget.