A Mediterranean buffet lunch,
on an absolutely beautiful Sunday afternoon,
at Eat Greek Restaurant,
... free of charge.
I love my life.
As a happy-go-lucky 18 year old girl with her head in the clouds, I am incredibly ignorant when it comes to many, many things. But with things like international affairs, I am particularly bad - I walked into the restaurant for the belated Christmas Party around midday and waited with my co-workers for everybody to arrive. But I sat there for half an hour wondering why on earth this Greek place was so crazy about the colour blue...
MMMMMMM YES GOOD JOB.
Eat Greek would be the perfect place for a big family do. Heaps of space inside the restaurant for the kiddies to run around, for mingling, and lots of long tables for big functions. There was a large table holding a baby shower next to ours, who came with blue balloons, blue dresses and ties, and the cutest little biscuits in the shape of baby footprints covered with baby blue icing! I was dying to take pictures but I was sitting next to my boss, and didn't want to make him think that I was some kind of crazy food blogger or something.
The view was delicious: surrounded by ceiling to floor windows overlooking a little boat harbour, and the whole place was flooded with summer sunlight.
As for other visuals, I don't think I have ever been to a restaurant with so many waitresses! And although this may seem like a strange observation, I swear all of them had passed a rigorous screening process to get the job, the requirements being: female, tall, skinny, blonde or brunette, young and pretty. Being served here was like being waited on by an army of Barbie dolls - but without the vapid expressions, and with excellent customer service skills. Orders were taken quickly, empty plates and glasses were taken away promptly, and any requests were answered with a polite answer and a smile. Lovely.
If I had to choose one word to describe the buffet, I'd probably choose fresh. The selections were never less than half full because the cooks were constantly coming out to replace them. The food wasn't too dressed up or seasoned to high heaven: the salad tasted like salad, the chicken tasted like chicken and the chili mussels tasted like chili mussels. Just real food, simply cooked.
Following my standard protocol for eating at a buffet, I took a tiny spoonful of as many different things as I could, and slowly hovered back to my table with my plate, rainbow-coloured, piled-high. I love surprises, so I tried to pick as many things as I could that I couldn't pronounce. Here were a few:
Taramosalata: (The pale pink one in the corner) A Greek and Turkish dip made with taramas, which is salted and cured carp roe, mixed in with breadcrumbs or mashed potato, lemon juice, olive oil and vinegar. Served with a flat kind of turkish bread, I went to grab a mouthful thinking it was strawberry flavoured. I'm told my facial expression was pretty classic.
Soutzoukakia: (Below, bottom right) Greek ground meatballs, lightly fried then cooked in a wine-sweetened tomato sauce. These were great! Make sure you grab a few of these if you ever go. These'd be great for canapes. Mmmm.
Pastitso: A baked dish of tubed pasta, meat sauce and béchamel sauce or custard. Named after Italian pasticcio, large family pies of pasta and ragù. I must say it looked pretty ordinary next to the other greek nibblies but it was oh so satisfying! I'll be making this in winter as comfort food. I didn't get a photo though. Ate it too fast.
Moussaka: A baked dish layered with eggplant, tomato, minced lamb and topped with a creamy white sauce, which I had been too scarred (not scared, scarred) to try since my mum cooked it a few years ago, but this one was a redeemer! Perhaps the texture of it was a bit out of my comfort zone, but the creamy topping and the subtle spices were a good combo.
Taramokeftedes: (Above) Fried fish balls made with fish roe, breadcrumbs and spices. The texture inside was quite firm, completely different to the deep fried items you get at dim sum. You have got to try them! I got my hands on some of the Greek dip in the middle of the table and had it with that.
Dolmades yalantzi: (Above) The funny looking green parcels are actually vine leaves stuffed with rice - I had no idea what was going on. They were kind of sour on the outside, and cold and sticky on the insid. No idea what flavours they were, I think there was lemon, some kind of nut, sultanas (?) and mixed herbs. Interesting.
My favourite ones would have to have been the taramokeftedes, and the two types of calamari which had a fair few mentions on urbanspoon last time I checked: one deep fried, and the other served in a tomato-based sauce. It's so hard to find places that don't cook calamari to a rubbery or toothfloss-like consistency these days, and Eat Greek's was lovely, tender, and yummeh in my tummeh.
After dining at the Atrium in Burswood, no dessert buffet will be able to measure up for a while. But there was definitely lots to love at Eat Greek's:
Baklava: Rich, sweet layers of filo pastry and chopped nuts, sweetened with syrup or honey, cut into diamonds. My dad goes bananas for this stuff, and never fails to buy a slice every time we walk past a kebab shop (thus, heart disease - its got a wicked amount of calories).
Ravani: A sweet cake made of semolina, soaked in syrup. Often made with coconut, and sometimes with orange flower water or rose water. More commonly known as basbousa, the Arabic version. Didn't get a photo of this either - see 'Pastitso' above.
Other goodies there was the custard and fruit trifle (I think I had 3 helpings) the chocolate mousse (a favourite at our table) and the apple crumble. And last but not least: there was a soft serve ice cream machine.
The Sunday Lunch Buffet usually costs $39.90 each, but my boss took care of that as our annual treat. And before the end of the meal, everyone was handed a blank envelope to open, saying it was our 'Christmas Present'...
So in actual fact, I got paid to eat.
...did I mention I love my life?