Being the West End junkie that I am, I walked past this place a few times before finally getting the chance to eat there. I make it sound like it's really difficult and exclusive because in a way, it is. One time, we were reading the menu outside to see why this place was so popular when a waitress came over to politely inform us that if we didn't have a booking, there was no point in looking at the menu anyway.
Well, a couple of weeks and numerous haloumi cravings later, I made sure that we gave it another go. This time, it was real late on a weekday and there was 1-2 tables free. Late on a weekday and the waitress still had to look around before confirming that yes, there was a small space for us to squeeze in.
The reason why I was so insistent on going is because an inspection of the menu online revealed that their prices are very reasonable, dare I say 'cheap'? In any case, it's lower than expected for a nice, new eatery in a central dining intersection of West End.
Little Greek Taverna has mostly outside tables but because it's on a corner lot, that's quite a few tables. We sat on the street (not literally, but you know what I mean) due to lack of other options.
The menu is a bit confusing. Or maybe we're just dumb. There are a lot of minor variations of the same few dishes that are hard to get your mind around. For instance, say you're in the mood for lamb. There's lamb souvlaki (grilled on a skewer) and lamb yiros (carved off a spit). You can get either variety in a plate with/without salad or in a pita wrap. With or without haloumi. And repeat this for about 2-3 other meats. Ok maybe it's not that confusing... or, I'm very good at explaining things :).
I ordered a small Greek salad and a haloumi pita. Byron and Hien both chose the lamb yiros pita. Hien (the pig) also got a haloumi saganaki.
I should mention at this point that my camera ran out of battery as soon as the food came out. It's so annoying that you obtain a rare opportunity to go to a particular restaurant that you've been excited about for ages and then... your camera dies. I can understand that normal, non-bloggers might not have this problem but for me, if I can't photograph it, I've basically not eaten it. I went back to my iPhone camera and tried my best but I apologize in advance for the poor quality of food pics.
Horiatiki - traditional Greek salad, including Little Greek Taverna's special Greek dressing
My Greek salad came first. It was a small but seemed largeish to me. Enough for me to have as a main on its own or to share for starters. The boys ate all the pickled chili (Byron's favorite), olives and onions. I liked the tangy dressing on the cucumber and tomato (very fresh). There was also a liberal sprinkling of dried herbs. It was a nice Greek salad and great start to our meal.
Haloumi saganaki - fried, marinated haloumi
Hien's haloumi saganaki came next. It's essentially a few thin slices of marinated and fried haloumi. They looked tasty but I think they're steep for $8, especially because you can get a haloumi pita for $7 (like I did). This was decidedly the least value item that we selected.
My haloumi pita was different to what I expected. I guess because we were sitting down at a restaurant, I thought it'd be open and on a plate. Instead, it was like a takeaway yiros, all wrapped up in paper and then stuffed in a foil bag. Gee it took me a long time to get through the wrapping and by the time I did, the wrap seemed a lot smaller than at the start. All the same, it was a nice wrap. There was a good amount of haloumi (wouldn't mind more) and if there was a sauce, I can't remember what it was. The outstanding feature of the pita wraps is the pita itself. I hadn't tasted anything like it before. I'd describe it as a fried, buttery roti crossed with pancake. It was heavy but I really liked it.
Lamb yiros pita
The lamb yiros pitas were in the same bread. They seemed to have a liberal amount of lamb but the boys commented that it wasn't like 'kebab lamb' like the meat shaved off the spit at kebab shops. Byron said it tasted a bit like mince. I didn't try it so I don't see how that's possible but they were in agreement on that fact.
When we saw the menu, we all thought the wraps were really cheap but that's because we were comparing to other restaurants. The fact is, what you're given is more like a takeaway kebab/yiros wrap so that's what you SHOULD be comparing with. Granted you're given a table to sit on but... still.
I'd like to their their other items though. At least something that's spread across a plate rather than wrapped up like fast food. I'm only human. I like to be fooled the impression of effort and value! Spying around what others were eating, I saw some very delicious-looking plates. I'll definitely update when I've tried some more.