An Evening at Mazi.
Guest feature by Natalie York:
With a pretty large and rowdy extended family in Athens I headed along to Mazi feeling like I had a fairly good handle on what to expect at a Greek restaurant, but entering into this secluded little gem tucked away in the back streets of Notting Hill I got the sense that this would be a few steps away from the simple home cooking I’ve gotten used to with my grandmother!
As we sat down in the garden (complete with automatic shade to cover diners as it rains, centre court eat your heart out!) we were greeted immediately with a shot of Tsipouro, a traditional pomace brandy, mixed with passion fruit, lime and mint. This delicious little treat is given out to everyone as they arrive and the recipe changes regularly so you can never be quite sure what to expect. After that I went for a Tzatziki Martini, with a mix of fresh cucumber and mint making for an aromatic and summery twist on a classic.
The food at Mazi draws on many familiar Greek staples but always with a fun and inventive little twist. We started off with a selection of jars, each filled with something different, which we shared out around the table. My favourites included the amazingly smooth tarama served with little balls of lemon caviar and the spicy cheese “tiropita” topped with a filo pastry lid and grilled leeks.
After this came a whole string of dishes which we shared out between us, you can order individually at Mazi but if you’ve got a big enough group its definitely worth ordering a few different things and trying a bit of everything! One of the absolute highlights was the feta tempura with sweet caper meringue and lemon marmalade: a thick chunk of feta, melted down to a creamy consistency cut through by the sharp lemon marmalade. Also the traditional shredded rabbit stifado was jazzed up with a pearl onion cream that gave the rich, warm dish a nice little kick whilst the grilled octopus was gorgeously juicy and meaty with a subtly smoky flavour.
As desert came in I was feeling pretty full but the loukmades doughnuts (lauded as London’s best doughnuts by the Evening Standard!) served with lavender honey and chocolate sorbet were actually much lighter than I expected and the yoghurt mousse with quince pudding was deliciously sweet and fragrant.
Ultimately I had a great time at Mazi, its lovely to see someone doing something a little bit different with traditional Greek recipes and ingredients and whilst the result is often creative and quirky it still remains convincingly authentic.
12-14 Hillgate Street,
LONDON W8 7SR