Whether you’re into Greek or Mediterranean cuisine or just looking to shake things up, Greeka Kouzina makes an excellent restaurant selection for a heavy lunch or dinner. Although its menu has lots of meaty items, vegetarians can also not go wrong with Greeka Kouzina as it serves plenty of vegetarian-friendly dishes that won’t weigh you down. Last Saturday, I made the slow drive up at the second floor of SM Aura Premier (beside Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen) to try what’s rolling best among their offerings. 😛
Review of Greeka Kouzina (SM Aura Premier, McKinley Pkwy, Taguig)
The ambiance of Greeka Kouzina at SM Aura Premier is very open and well decorated but not overdone. In fact, the decors are almost zen-like. The atmosphere is classy, catering to a similar audience. Colorful lamps on the sides serve as accents that bring vibrancy and a festive mood to the dining area. The textured walls gave an ever more appealing appearance, and the structured ceiling gave the space a hint of grandeur, a warm and inviting feel.
We were greeted by one of the friendly hostesses upon entrance. As I’ve reserved a table for the group, we were seated abruptly.
The servers were friendly, knowledgeable, attentive and helpful in introducing the menu items which are all foreign in my book. Also, I appreciated that the staff refilled our glasses with water several times throughout the evening without us having to ask. Each course of food was served quickly and we were not bothered at any point during dinner.
Greeka Kouzina’s food was truly a feast for both the eyes and mouth. First up, the stars aligned for an incredible explosion of flavors and textures of ingredients making up the Fig Roka Salata (PHp 420). The mixed greens and arugula arrived fresh. Fortified with sweet figs, walnuts, and sun-dried tomatoes, this plate was everything I could’ve hoped for: crunchy, saucy, sweet, salty and savory. The white thing that appeared to me as “lumpia wrapper” was apparently cheese! 😀 This appetizer is good for about three to five people to share. To our health, cheers!
The second dish served was only five minutes away. Easy to serve and even easier to eat, the Kalamari Tiganito (PHp 290) consisted of freshly caught fried squid sprinkled with alatopiperigano. In case you don’t know, “alatopiperigano” simply is the combination of salt (“alati”), pepper (“piperi”) and dried oregano (“rigani”). The kalamari was cooked well and it poised itself as a comforting, familiar and slightly elevated dish. Dip it to the bright lemon-olive oil Greek dressing and you might say “Ahhh delicious!” after each bite.
Next, the meat. We had the Paidakia (PHp 595), grilled lamb cutlets marinated in Greek’s signature spices. Call me caveman but I did not bother with the accompanying yoghurt and lemon slices to cut through the strong meat flavor. The lamb cut was tasty, however what I didn’t like was seeing too much fat oozing from it. While some people I know prefer that rich, wondrous and delicious fat of lamb, I was intimidated and distracted. 😛 Anyway, let’s move on.
Krasates (PHp 480) consisted of two pieces grilled pork chops, served with blue cheese, walnuts and Greek’s signature gravy. I tried a very small chunk of the pork chop and thought it was incredibly juicy and tender. Still, I won’t convert myself as a meat-eater, if that’s what you’ll be asking. 😀 Thoughtfully executed, the krasates took on that roasted flavor that’s far from bland.
Another irresistible entree was the Beef Souvlaki (PHp 430). This char-grilled skewer of meat can well satisfy your appetite for some sinful indulgence. It almost seemed like a crime to give this a miss. The cubes of beef were nicely marinated. They were moist and flavorful, completely edible and not too chewy.
I could not believe that the Watercress Pasta (PHp 180) is listed just as a siding on Greeka Kouzina’s menu. With refreshing watercress and tomatoes, the creamy watercress pasta was perfect in earthy flavor. As a light dish, this al dente pasta is one that won’t make you feeling icky after finishing the whole thing.
The Moussaka (PHp 180), made of grilled eggplant layered with beef, tomato sauce, cherry bechamel and potato topping, was refined and flavorsome. It was my first time to taste moussaka and I thought I could liken it with lasagna, except instead of noodles, you have eggplant. This serving of moussaka is considered as well as a siding that can be an entire meal for those who have a small stomach like mine. 🙂
Finally, we had Baklava (PHp 180) for desserts. It was layered with phyllo pistachio, walnuts and cashews and topped with a large ball of Greek yogurt. The nuttiness was all over. The baklava looked harmless enough in presentation, but after biting into it, you’d know a sugar party is happening. Without the Greek yogurt to tone down the sweetness, I would not love it as much.
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Greeka Kouzina is stuffed to the brim with its namesake. You want authentic Greek food? You got it. Although the menu features food in Greek names, their respective descriptions are simple and straightforward. When in doubt, you can ask the staff to recommend and help you out. So the next time you wonder where to eat in SM Aura, this Greece-inspired restaurant must be one of the top selections! 🙂 The dining experience and the quality of food here are worth to spend reasonable amount of money for.
285 Pedro Guevarra St, San Juan | (02) 624 5974