The Greek fine dining scene in Dubai has, for a quite considerable time, been limited to only one restaurant (Elia, in Bur Dubai although Greek dishes do pop up elsewhere). As such, a new addition to the network, let alone the first (for now) in New Dubai, was a considerably welcome one.
This restaurant, located in The Beach at JBR, is also a particularly attractive and welcoming sight. There is an outdoor dining area, ambient as any at The Beach. Inside the restaurant there is an open kitchen, a modern and slight edgy East London look of exposed brick, combined with beachy, white-washed accents and twinkly-lit bird cages hanging from the ceiling. Cute, yet somehow still urban.
Staff at Eat Greek are welcoming, helpful and efficient, though they may be a little too eager to fill water glasses, offer you yet another wet-wipe, or just generally check in at the table. A large one-page menu covers plenty of areas of Greek dining, including fresh and light salads and cold appetisers, gyros and souvlaki stuffed pittas, mixed grills, seafood, fish, lamb and even a sub-section of steaks and burgers. Order for the table to share, as the Greeks do.
From the appetisers, the eggplant salad is a cold dip, with a thick, rustic texture, and packed with plenty of fresh, zingy flavours of tomatoes, pepper, garlic and lemon. The baked feta, dressed with a few slices of red onion, red pepper and tomato was something of a letdown. Despite several servers warning us to be careful of this hot plate, it was in fact only lukewarm, like the cheese itself, which seemed to have been barely changed in consistency by heat. The dakos Cretan salad, however, was an enjoyably humble dish, with a fresh, lively mixture of crumbled feta and diced fresh tomato over huge chunks of bread, which were intermittently sweetly soaked in the juices of the salad, and crunchy, crusty and nutty.
The selection of fresh, whole fish offered a choice of mangrove jack or black bream. The waiter was unable to explain much about the difference, but he did assert that the black bream was better. Once it reached the table, it looked enticing, presented in a clean and modern style. The whole fish sat aslant on a bed of (slightly bitter but fresh tasting) wilted, seasonal, wild greens, with sweet cubes of roasted beetroot scattered around the plate. The fish itself did not disappoint, perfectly cooked, with the perfect flavours of lemon and olive oil. The kleftiko roast lamb shank was very fatty, but also tender. Accompanying it were beautifully creamy yet crunchy and crisp roasted potatoes in their skins, but also an exceptionally salty mixture of green peas and beans.
Desserts offered a Greek answer to the dougnut – loukomades – not far off the Emirati favourite luqaimat. These were perfect little balls of fried sweetness, not too oily, and the server obligingly placed the three different accompaniments (icing sugar, nutella, honey) on the side when we couldn’t make up our minds up. The chocolate baklava was a combination of chocolate candied walnuts sandwiched between flaky filo, dusted with cocoa. It was good, lighter and not as rich as anticipated, but also not quite as chocolaty as hoped.
With a excellent location, pleasant staff and an mostly very enjoyable menu of simple Greek cooking, this is certainly a good addition to the scene for this currently under-represented cuisine.
The bill (for two)
1x baked feta Dhs50
1x dakos salad Dhs42
1x eggplant salad Dhs18
1x black bream Dhs135
1x kleftiko lamb Dhs120
1x doughnuts Dhs30
1x chocolate baklava Dhs40
1x large water Dhs18
Total (excluding service) Dhs453