We’re lucky to have almost every cuisine available to us in the ‘Kong, but the one that was really lagging behind in the local dining scene was… Greek! Fortunately for us, the lovely people at Concept Creations (responsible for the likes of Chicha, Tapeo and Frites) have just opened Souvla to bring us some tasty Greek style treats in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong.
Souvla (which refers to a Cypriot dish of charcoal barbequed meat) is a huge space with a clean, polished look and comfortable round booths at the sides, perfect for a relaxed meal with a big group of friends. Although the sleek décor doesn’t exactly scream Greece, Concept Creations’ owner Viviano Romito explained that there is actually a lot of Greek meaning behind this sophisticated look – from the marble table-tops and the red honeycombed pattern on the walls, to the stone-filled pillars and open kitchen.
After checking out the menu (which was illustrated with some crazy colourful Greek gods… so cute!), I opted for one of the house cocktails, “The Birds and the Bees” to start us off. All Souvla’s signature cocktails use a Greek brandy called Metaxa, and I was pleasantly surprised to find my cocktail very refreshing! With elderflower and chamomile honey (and a cute retro straw), this unique creation had a cooling, almost aniseed taste… and I’m sure you won’t need many to start feeling very merry!
We started with a small plate of delicious, soft olives, followed by some taramasalata and pita bread. This wasn’t any taramasalata though – and definitely not the bright pink, pungent fishy dip from a supermarket! More hummus-like in colour, this had a subtle, smoky fish flavour that was perfected by salty bursts of cod roe on top.
Next up was some grilled Mediterranean octopus on a small bed of salad. The smoky taste of the octopus paired well with the dill and parsley from the salad, and topped off with a squeeze of lemon, this was a fresh, summery dish to kick off our meal.
However, the star of the starters had to be the Greek Kefalograviera cheese! Being a cheese-lover, I was intrigued to try a cheese I hadn’t heard of… and I’m so glad I did! Served on a hot plate, the cheese was crispy on the outside, stringy on the inside and had an indulgent taste highlighted by a dollop of sticky-sweet fig jam. Creating the perfect savoury-sweet combination, the jam was so delicious we wanted to take a jar of it home!
Rach’s love of the scallops at Chicha might have been taken as a hint… as the last of our last starters was Souvla’s scallops with almond skordalia, Manouri cheese and tsoureki crumbs. Served in their shells, these melt-in-mouth morsels sat on an unusual, smooth bread paste, with a citrus kick that blended well with the sweet scallops. A unique, simple scallop dish using authentic Greek ingredients… we’d say these were quintessentially ‘Souvla’ style!
Our stomachs were already feeling full, but it was soon time for our main courses! The first dish was Souvla’s already famous lamb ribs, served with cumin yoghurt. Although I’m not the biggest ribs fan (…the potential for a very messy dinner date!), these were actually very delicate and they literally fell off the bone. The lamb was meltingly tender, wonderfully seasoned and tasted great with the refreshing cumin yoghurt and a sprinkle of salt on the side!
To accompany the lamb was a one of the best grain salads I think I’ve had – Souvla’s “Cypriot Salad”, which mixes pine nuts, sunflower seeds, lentils and other healthy delights with pomegranates and yoghurt. Fresh, filling and bursting with flavour, this was one of the most unique salads we’ve had in a long while.
We were lucky enough to be presented with one final main, a fish dish that was truly incredible. Souvla is the only restaurant in Hong Kong to serve Glacier 51 Toothfish, a sought-after glacier fish that is similar to cod – and it was absolutely divine! The juiciest white flesh and a light buttery sauce with just a hint of orange made this dish an absolute winner.
Luckily we’d saved a little room for our favourite part of a meal – dessert! – and we were delighted by the “Golden Greek Time” that appeared! Inspired by Viv and Executive Chef Michael’s favourite childhood Australian ice-cream, this dessert features a globe of vanilla ice-cream with a chocolate ice-cream centre, covered in cornflakes and deep-fried! As if the idea of fried ice-cream wasn’t enough, it came served with chocolate honeycomb and a pot of decadent salted caramel. Need we say more?!
To finish, we also tried Souvla’s chocolate baklava; with its soft flaky pastry and intensely sweet filling, these would have been perfect with a cup of coffee, but were a little too sweet for us on their own. Perhaps we’ll go for the more traditional pistachio flavour next time.
If you aren’t taking advantage of Souvla’s great value weekday lunch buffet ($168-228) or Sunday brunch ($495 per person), small dishes from the a la carte menu cost around $80-120, whilst the larger mains from the grill or oven range between $165-395. Souvla even do a very reasonably priced $100 lunchbox to takeaway that includes their signature pita wraps with small portions of salad and baklava – genius!
Overall, our experience at Souvla did not disappoint! Viv and Chef Michael have truly captured the simple but delicious ethos of Greek dining and, combined with their Aussie hospitality, have created a fun, relaxing atmosphere with quality Greek-inspired dishes that come packed with authentic flavours. So whether you’re grabbing a Souvla lunchbox, booking a buffet brunch, sipping on a Metaxa cocktail or going for a big fat Greek dinner, be sure to check out Hong Kong’s tastiest place to party Greek-style!
SOUVLA Greek restaurant 1/F, Ho Lee Comm Bld ,40 D’aguilar Street Central