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12-14 Hillgate Street
The guys at Mazi are the peerless new Hellenic heroes of W8, bringing upbeat Greek hospitality to packed houses nightly. Slightly overwhelmed waiters manage to cope with the boisterous crowds who
squeeze into the tiny space for a taste of sunny, progressive food that transcends the tired repertoire of old-school holiday tavernas. Home-baked breads arrive with various jars filled with the
likes of grilled aubergine, soy and thyme honey or tarama mousse with lemon confit, while starters bring intensely flavoured and mouth-wateringly tender ‘grand mama's meatballs' piled on sliced
cucumber with a mint and sesame dip. Succulent lobster with orzo pasta and herb-crusted saddle of lamb with a savoury baklava of its shoulder are signature dishes for good reason – just add a glass
from the impressive, exhaustively researched all-Greek wine list for the perfect match.
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
12-14 Hillgate Street
020 7229 3794
Notting Hill Gate Tube Station 67m
Queensway Tube Station 672m
The Coronet Cinema Notting Hill Gate 66m
The Gate Cinema 78m
Mon-Sun 10am-12M (Sat-Sun 12N- )
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
My knowledge of Greek food doesn't go much further than feta and taramasalata so I wasn't desperate for a full Greek experience and in fact my dining companion (who has a Greek girlfriend), did say it was a little West London'd Greek food. However, that doesn't detract from how good it was.
The concept of the sharing menu is both excellent and a challenge for me, especially in this restaurant since they have so much aubergine and courgette in the dishes. I realise these are staples of Greek cuisine but these are two vegetables I really can't stand, so there was a lot of compromising as we decided on which dishes we would share. The waiter was happy to both recommend the right amount of food if we were hungry (we were) and also put up with my exceptionally particular wine requirements, to the point of letting me taste a couple before deciding.
In the end we chose two jars, the Oak Smoked Potato salad and the Squid Ink Fava Bean puree. I loved the way the food was presented. Really charming but they were both so fabulous, that I wish I could have had them to myself. If it hadn't been both undignified and nigh on impossible to reach, I could have licked the jars to get every last morsel out. Incredible flavours that married together so well. The Greek salad we chose (very good but standard Greek salad really) was a great accompaniment.
The hot meals were another strenuous negotiation. My friend wanted the courgette cakes but he also wanted the pork tenderloin, celery and leek pie. I wasn't keen on either so we split the difference. We still had the pork but the courgettes were cast aside in favour of the monkfish. I still found the pork a little too heavy but good and the monkfish was just wonderfully prepared. No boring, dull, tasteless fish here. Very impressive.
The dessert menu was a mixture of words I just didn't understand though the waiter did try and explain, I think the use of the word ‘fondant’ is misleading for something that is essentially a small cake. It had quite a heavy consistency and was a little too much after that meal. My friend had the loukoumades, which are like little round doughballs. They were described as profiterole type things but I think that was in shape only. Dessert was probably slightly disappointing after it had been preceded by such great food.
I liked the extra touches, like the shot of Greek liquor infused with lemon, prior to the meal. They offered my friend have his dessert for free because it had taken a while to get to the table. They also didn't rush us out of the restaurant, despite reminding me on the phone that it was a 2 hour window.
My only quibbles would be that it was a very small space so we were all practically eating on top of each other. Very tight for the number of tables. It was also ridiculously hot, so hot that we had to go and stand outside for a few minutes, as we both felt a little overheated. They did attempt to help us by opening the door to the garden, only to be full of complaints from diners who thought it was instantly really cold. Considering how nice an evening it was on Saturday, I just couldn't believe that.
Still, I can't praise the food enough. This restaurant is really worth a visit but it's so small that this is definitely one you need to reserve ahead of time.
The jars were like treasure troves for taste buds, a must have is the Oak Smoked Potato salad with quail egg. There were a few of us so did not taste the egg but the potatoes were to live for! Then I was seduced by the Feta Tempura with lemon marmalade and caper meringue and well satisfied with the Black Truffle chicken Hunkar Begendi. Too full to try dessert but then that's the perfect excuse to go back and eat less to make room for all those tempting sweeter dishes. We drank divine Greek white wine, sadly forgot to write down the name but yet another excuse to return.
Food + drink: 1
I am afraid the owners of this restaurant didn't even give us the opportunity to try their food…such was unwelcoming and rude their ‘welcome’ in the restaurant.
I am Greek and last Sunday was Greek Orthodox Easter so I had this fabulous idea to book for our Easter lunch a table to MAZI as I read so many nice reviews in the press…I called 3 weeks in advance to make sure I get a nice table for 5 as we had family visiting for the holiday and I really wanted them to enjoy. Upon arrival we had to wait a few minutes for the lady in charge to pay attention to us. When she showed us our table we thought there must be some sort of mistake as it was big enough only for 3!!! When we mentioned that she said that there was no other table available and that they warned us during the reservation that we will be squeezed…No way I would have booked a table for Easter lunch with family knowing that we will be squeezed like being in the northern line during rush hour…we proposed to add a second table which was empty next to ours but the response was that there was no more chairs…Seriously??? And to top this extremely unpleasant discussion she then called somebody else who came to tell us in a very rude and obnoxious manner that we should know about the squeezing situation and that he had 100 people on his waiting list for that day…Again…Seriously???
It’s worth mentioning that it is a very small and narrow restaurant….. Where was he planning to put all those people???
So we left wondering why would we care to go back there? Try the food when the service is so so bad from the moment you enter through the door…and in such a special day…If I was you I would wait to go to Greece to eat Greek food…Don't go there…Ever!!!
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