COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Greek cuisine consists of a lot of olive oil, grains, seafood, wine and meat, but not many Singaporeans would know about it, considering the dearth of Greek restaurants here (way too much Korean joints, though).
Welp, get a massive crash course in the art of authentic Mediterranean cuisine with Tiong Bahru’s BAKALAKI Greek Taverna, a restaurant that might as well be called ‘Little Greece’. It even has an indoor olive tree, dammit.
Priding itself as a purveyor of a bona fide Greek experience, BAKALAKI is an oasis of sorts with a solid focus on authenticity — so much so that it made sure to import its fish and seafood ingredients from the homeland. Seafood platter must-haves include the Htapodi (grilled octopus with lemon, oregano and extra virgin olive oil, $32.90) and the Xifias (grilled sword fish fillet served with lemon sauce and boiled vegetables, $33.90). Those with a more meaty tooth can go for the Paidakia (grilled marinated lamb chops with oregano and rosemary, $32.90) or the value-for-money mixed grilled meat platter ($97.90/two, $188.90/four).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper Greek outing without the yogurt and cheese. Feast on the trifecta of dips — Tzatziki (Greek yogurt with cucumber, garlic and olive oil), Melitzanosalata Agioritiki (smoky eggplant spread with red peppers, garlic and olive oil) and Tyrokafteri (spicy feta cheese spread with greek yogurt and roasted red peppers) at $14.90 each.
For those who can’t get enough of cheese, try the Feta Saganaki (pan fried feta cheese dressed with honey and sesame, $16.90), or the crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside Spanakopita (Greek filo pastry with spinach, feta cheese, leeks and dill, $15.90).
A sweet staple in Mediterranean cuisine would be baklava, and Bakalaki does a mean rendition of it with filo pastry stuffed with walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and Greek honey syrup. Top it all off with wine, ‘cause ancient Greeks didn’t worship Dionysus, the god of wine, for nothing. Sup on vino specially imported from Greece, with prices that start at $71.90 a bottle.
BAKALAKI Greek Taverna is at 3 Seng Poh Rd, 6836-3688. Fri-Sun noon-2:30pm, 6pm-1am; Mon-Thurs 6pm-midnight.