Celebrating 15 years of The Greek on Halifax

The Greek on Halifax - 75-79 Halifax Street, Adelaide SA 5000

In 2002, Mary and Stan Galantomos opened The Greek on Halifax with the hope of telling their family’s story through their love of Greek food. 15 years later, Mary now runs the Adelaide institution with her son, Ross, and they have definitely fulfilled this hope.

Soon after opening, The Greek became known for exceptional food, their spectacular atmosphere and location on Halifax Street, great wine, and customer service that makes you feel like you’re having dinner at Mum’s place. Their long-lasting success is undoubtedly due to their combination of this warm hospitality and treasured family recipes presented in a modern, fresh way, whilst using the best produce available here in South Australia. On The Chopping Board (OTCB) was recently invited to celebrate 15 years of the restaurant, and all food and beverages were provided on behalf of The Greek on Halifax.

Mary’s mother was born on a Greek island closer to Turkey, while her father was originally from Cyprus. These Eastern Mediterranean and Arabic influences are prominent in The Greek’s menu, whilst complimenting traditional mainland Greek flavours. Also catering for those with a vegetarian, vegan, or gluten free diet, The Greek’s menu really does have something that everyone will enjoy, and keep coming back for more of.

When thinking of Greek food, many immediately imagine the fresh, zingy and oh-so-garlicky crowd pleaser – tzatziki. While the tzatziki at The Greek was all of these things, it was the other dips on the menu that were real stand-outs. Made from potato, almonds, raw garlic and copious amounts of olive oil, the Skordalia with warm pita bread was deliciously creamy and ridiculously moreish.

Pantzarosalata with warm pita - $7

Taramasalata - $7

Another traditional Greek dip served was Pantzarosalata, a combination of boiled beetroot, yoghurt, walnuts, garlic and olive oil, blended together to create a sweet, velvety dip. The last dip we tasted was Taramasalata, a unique but sensational concoction of fish roe, onion, bread, lemon juice and olive oil. Not having tried Taramasalata before, I was a little hesitant as I am not usually a fan of fish roe. However, after tasting The Greek’s version, I now understand why it is referred to as the salty, savoury food of the Greek gods.

Saganaki Kefalograviera - $15
Literally meaning ‘little frying pan’, Saganaki is a traditional Greek dish of fried cheese, often floured and fried. To keep the dish a little lighter, The Greek choose to serve their saganaki simply grilled with cherry tomatoes, lemon and olive oil, which allows the natural flavours of the kefalograviera cheese to shine through without being too heavy.

Sikotakia - $15
In remembrance of Mary’s father who used to buy chicken livers every Saturday afternoon from the Adelaide Central Market, Sikotakia is a popular mezé dish at the restaurant. Mary tells us that customers who don’t usually like chicken livers really like the way they cook them at The Greek. Pan fried with caramelised onion and served with crusty char-grilled village bread, these chicken livers were packed full of flavour.

Krokettes - $15
The last of the mezé dishes we tried were the Krokettes – crumbed zucchini and cheese croquettes served with the scrumptious skordalia we sampled earlier in the meal. Ridiculously crunchy and perfectly cheesy, these croquettes were up there with some of the best we have had in Adelaide.

Kalamari Tiganito - $20/$32
One of The Greek's best selling dishes is their Kalamari Tiganito - lightly fried calamari served with a chickpea, capsicum, red onion and parsley salad. The South Australian calamari is flavoursome and tender, encased in a light and crispy coating - everything you would hope for in a calamari dish. Available as a smaller mezé plate or a larger sharing plate, this was the seafood highlight of the day for us.

Octapothi Souvlaki - $34

A Greek feast wouldn't be complete without souvlaki. This char-grilled octopus souvlaki was tender and buttery soft, sitting atop the same refreshing chickpea salad that the calamari was served with. I often find myself hesitant to order octopus at restaurants, as it can so easily turn into a rubbery, chewy protein if treated the wrong way. Greeks are traditionally known to beat freshly caught octopus against rocks on the shore to tenderise the meat. Although the chefs at The Greek are most likely tenderising the octopus on a kitchen bench or by using a more slightly modern technique, the most important thing is that the meat has obviously been treated with the utmost care and skill - it simply had to have been for it to taste this good. 

Chicken Souvlaki - $32
Another best seller, The Greek's char-grilled chicken souvlaki served on a bed of fragrant rice was superbly tender, juicy and flavoursome - we could not fault it at all. 

Paithakia - $32
The final savoury dish of our Greek feast was Paithakia - marinated lamb cutlets, char-grilled and served on a village-style cous cous. What is described on the menu as 'village-style cous cous' is really pourgouri - a traditional Greek bulgar wheat cooked with tomato, onion and spices to create a rich, slightly chewy bed for the slightly pink cutlets. 

Baklava - $8
To finish off what was a truly superb meal, we indulged in a slice of baklava - layered slices of baked filo pastry, filled with a mix of walnuts, almonds, pistachios and honey syrup. Although traditionally a very sweet dessert, The Greek's baklava was not sickly like some can be, which meant we were able to sneak in a second piece - just for good measure, of course!

The Gallery Room at The Greek on Halifax
After being in business for so long in a successful CBD restaurant, Mary and Ross feel like they have been given the licence to be more creative with the design and fit-out of the restaurant. Steering away from white walls and harsh features, the recent redesign of The Greek includes many fun quirks such as thousands of corks on one ceiling, old taverna chairs filling another, and the very loved gallery room with family photos that help tell the Galantomos story.

Mary and Ross have created a real sense of community and family at The Greek on Halifax, something that is often lost in the modern day restaurant. It's almost impossible to have a meal at The Greek without Mary chatting to your table, telling stories about their family, and winning people over one souvlaki at a time. We have no doubt they will continue to serve amazing Greek food for another 15 years.

The Greek on Halifax Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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