Review of 'Kalamari'

Whenever it is our birthday we have the choice where to go for dinner – anywhere we want. My wife this year chose to visit a local Greek restaurant Kalamari partly because of the fact that we love Greek food but also because of our fantastic trip to Greece last year (where the food was very good indeed). Located midway between Chiswick and Hammersmith on the “Chiswick High Road” it is easy to miss this small restaurant but this would be unfortunate as it is worth a visit.

We had an early evening reservation and I was greeted warmly on arrival then shown to our table. The interior is somewhat tacky – but in a good way – to give it a feel of a Greek taverna - The ceiling is covered in lights meant to look like stars with trellises festooned with (plastic) vines with (plastic) grapes hanging down. The walls are decorated with hand-painted murals and pictures from the area.

Interior

As I waited for my wife to arrive I was given some freshly grilled pitta and some olives/peppers in olive oil to nibble on while I looked over the fairly extensive two-page menu. It is divided into “Soups”, “Hors d'oeuvres”, “From the charcoal”, “Greek specialities”, “Kalamari dishes”, “Fish from the charcoal”, “Chef's specialities” and “Vegetarian dishes” along with “Mezedes” (“plate of cold starters”; £11.75) and “Meze” (a three-course set meal £22 per person for a minimum of two people “a selection of greek specials”). The standard Greek fare on offer here (Tarmasalata, Tabouli, Souvla, Dolmades, Moussaka, etc) but also a few dishes in “Chef's specialities” that stretch considerably further (for example “Steak diane” £16.50, “Beef stroganoff” £15.50 and an odd sounding “Scampi a l'orange” £14.50). The prices are quite reasonable with starters generally in the £4-£5 range and mains £11-£15.

We decided to go for the “Meze” set meal where we chose the “meat” option (over the “fish” and “vegetarian”). Wanting to mix it up a bit and get a meat option for one of us and a fish option for the other we were told we had to both order the same (with only the two of us eating). The pitta had while waiting for the first of the dishes to arrive was absolutely delicious with the smokey flavour of the grill very pleasant indeed. This was a theme that would repeat throughout the substantial meal to come…

An assortment of small dishes containing starters were the first items to appear on the table: Houmous (chick pea dpi; the most disappointing, flavourless dish on the table), Taramasalata (a pink cured code roe dip; a bit fishy but nice), “Tabouli” (simple salad of vegetables with fresh parsley), Tzatziki (spiced yogurt dip), Melitzano Salata (eggplant dip; quite bland), Fasulia (bean salad), and potato salad. Very fresh and generally quite delicious. We were cautioned not to eat too much of the new basket of pitta dropped on the table as there were many more courses to come…

Hors d'oeuvres

After we finished these dishes a series of small single plates arrived on the table as they were prepared. First up was the grilled halloumi (cheese) which was served piping hot, delicious and firm in texture. Next was two “domades”, home made lamb-stuffed vine leaves which were a bit small but, again, quite tasty. The deep-fried “Kalamari” (squid) ring lacked any seasoning so were completely tasteless and did not have the expected crispy texture but instead were slightly soggy. Two very large prawns served butterflied were deliciously grilled and tender. A large plate of Greek salad arrived which had a very light dressing as well as fresh feta. Normally I am not a big fan of Greek salad but here the feta was so fresh the flavour was somewhat (thankfully) muted so I quite enjoyed it though the dressing was so bland as to be tasteless.

Greek Salad

The final course (the “meat” in the set meal) was served consisting of three plates: Sheftalia (mince beef balls), chicken kebab (slightly dry) and filet steak kebab. These were all quite good though only the minced meat balls really stood out for us which were melt in the mouth and absolutely delicious. The kebabs were cooked perfectly well but quite bland though nicely charred from the grill.

Meat Course

Our dessert was not included in the set meal but despite being quite full we decided to go for the baklava (honey soaked filo pastry with nuts; £4.50) which was a generous portion and absolutely delicious. I will say though that it was so incredibly sweet that you could taste very little of the nuts and pastry…

At £71.50 for the two of us including drinks it was a bit more expensive than what we were expecting but we certainly received a lot of food for that money (particularly the bargain-priced set meal), walking away very full indeed. Note that if you do plan on visiting it is worthwhile to sign up for the 10% off coupon on their web site (of course, I forgot to use mine…). The a-la-carte dishes ordered by other diners also seemed to be quite generous in nature - so be warned if you are not particularly hungry to perhaps go a bit easy…Generally the food was well prepared if perhaps a bit bland though the grilled food were the stars of the show - perfectly cooked and very tasty indeed. The staff were quite helpful though our waitress did have a bit of trouble with English. The restaurant was about 1/3 full on the Thursday evening with a few people dropping by periodically for take away.

Generally quite good for a local area Greek restaurant but not spectacular.

Rating:

Review Date: 2017-10-19


Cuisine: Greek

Address: 4 Chiswick High Road, London W4 1TH ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Stamford Brook

Location: London (England) - Chiswick

Map:

 

Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 8994 4727

URL: http://www.kalamarirestaurant.com/