On an early Autumnal evening, undaunted members of the Moscow Good Food Club shared a common desire to extend the summer by joining a Greek evening at the newly opened Ehal Greeka restaurant located on one of the boats close to the Radisson Royal. Whilst their airy terrace had been open all summer the main restaurant was completed recently and was right for an invasion of the Moscow Good Food Club!
As members arrived we were invited to an Ouzo to start to get us into the Greek spirit of the evening. An unusual aperitif but actually appropriate with many asking for a second or in some case, a third! One of the most pleasant aspects of the Moscow Good Food Club is the speed in which people communicate and socialise. There are never people standing alone with new members immediately involved in animated conversations!
At 20:00 we were invited to take our seats and were introduced to our host for the evening, Yiannis Kofopoulos who now lives in Moscow but is originally from Thessaloniki. He explained that the menu for the evening was 100% authentic Greek and with that the first course was served.
This was a cold meze consisting of Taramosalata, Tzatziki, Tyroslata, Melitzanoslata and Kristinia beautifully presented on a slate. This was accompanied by our first Greek wine, Thalassitis, Santorini Asyrtiko which was light and refreshing. This was followed by the warm meze of Dolmades, Flogera and Seafood Kritharoto with a full- blooded Kanenas Mavroudi-Syrah.
Ehal Greeka offered a choice of 4 main courses: Greek Suvlaki of Pork, Lamb or Chicken, Stifado with rabbit , Sea bass in a cream of greens or Vakaloo (cod) with beetroot and potatoes. Many members opted for the Lamb Suvlaki an all enjoyed the rich flavours and succulent meat, the Rabbit was also excellent with a delicate onion and tomato sauce with subtle cinnamon flavouring. The Sea bass was well received and its flavours enjoyed by the members that selected this and the Vakalao(cod) was deemed exquisite. The main courses were complemented with 2 wines a Metohi Xinomayro/Limnia/Cabernet Sauvignon again a full-blooded red with plenty of flavour and a more delicate Metohi Asyrtiko Athiri/Sauvignon Blanc for the fish.
At this stage, our host Yiannis Kofopoulos surprised us by taking the microphone and singing some ballads from his hometown of Thessaloniki creating a full Greek tavern experience on the Moscow river! Naturally there was more to come and when the first strains of the Sirtaki could be heard members jumped to their feet and were soon dancing through the tables to exclamations of Opa! A first for the Moscow Good Food Club!
Returning to our tables we found a choice of Greek desserts including Karydopita, Baklava and honey cake washed down with Tsipouro made from distilled grapes, boiled with cinnamon and honey.
Now it was time for business and for the elected Spokesperson from each table to deliver their critiques on our meal, all were agreed that the Food Quality was high, the Quality and Suitability of the drinks was also appreciated especially as few had much experience with Greek wines. The service standards were extremely high as was the general rating of the meal.
The independent results indicate a high level of food, quality and service so the Moscow Good Food Club members give Ehal Greeka a resounding âHighly Recommendedâ!
The Moscow Good Food Club evenings are not all about food & drink and we do make our members work for a few short minutes as they discuss and prepare answers to the eveningâs question â âCulture! Are there enough cultural events for expats in Moscow? Do we need more please provide favourites of suggestionsâ. As always the answers/suggestions are varied and included: more English language theatre (or at least some English subtitles); more Russian movies with subtitles; limited English language audio guides in museums and attractions; Moscow not on the circuit for International plays, little information available in English. Naturally there were less serious, light hearted answers that included: cultural events in Tverskaya 17; more Good Food Club events; Morris dancing and Whippet racing!
So with Zorba the Greek echoing in our heads it was time to leave our little piece of Greece and return to normal Moscow life. Efcharisto Ehal Greeka and Yiannis, thank you for your great hospitality!