My Big Fat Greek Kitchen, Edinburgh

Unknown

01/05/15

We visited this restaurant after a recommendation from a friend. It’s situated on Brougham Street, a stone’s throw from the Meadows. The interior is fairly Spartan and has the atmosphere of a simple taverna. I don’t know for sure, but I’d hazard a guess that MBFGK is a family-run affair and it’s clear from the hugs and kisses handed out by the proprietor to various guests as they departed, that this place generates a lot of return custom. Service, it has to be said, through warm and friendly, was a tad erratic. Our waitress kept galloping about the place to rearrange chairs and tables, even in the middle of taking our order.

For starters, I chose Whitebait, a dish that’s notoriously difficult to find these days. These were somewhat larger than expected and nicely cooked, lightly dusted with breadcrumbs. They came with nothing more than a small bowl of mayonnaise and the traditional slice of lemon. Susan chose Feta Cheese with kalamata olives and that’s exactly what she got – a generous hunk of cheese and a pile of bitter-tasting olives; but the dish needed something more to complete it – a couple of slices of pitta bread would have been a welcome addition. Perhaps some salad garnish?

For the main course, I went with Stifado – a rich and peppery beef stew. It arrived slapped into a white bowl, accompanied by a couple of pieces of dry toasted bread and an almost risible selection of fries – there were perhaps six of them in total, tasting of very little. The stew itself was hearty and satisfying, but once again, the dish felt incomplete and there was no attempt to make it look appetising. Susan’s choice of Lamb Souvlaki was pretty good, I thought, a generously sized skewer of tender meat,  onion and peppers, resting on a bed of rice, but once again, the dish looked rather underwhelming. The chef clearly knows how to prepare the meat elements of the meals, but would do well, I think, to put a little more effort into his presentation skills.

We drank a bottle of house white and I would have expected this to be a traditional Greek wine – an Assyrtiko, perhaps or a Savatiano, but instead we were served a (fairly decent) Italian Pino Grigio. Go figure. Overall, we enjoyed the food, but the name leads you to expect some kind of gastronomic blowout, which this certainly wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. It was decent food, but with a little more work on the presentation, it would have scored much higher.

3.2 stars

Philip Caveney

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