We were visitng Sydney for the first time and weren’t really sure where to eat. So I checked the Australia version of travelzoo.com and found this offer:
An exclusive 8-dish Greek feast for $59 for two people, including a glass of wine each, saving 53% off the regular price. The Greek banquet includes taramosalata caviar dip and pita, kefalograviera — pan-fried Greek cheese with lemon, raved about by numerous critics — as well as chargrilled chicken served with lemon potatoes and tzatziki, slow-cooked veal and potatoes in lemon sauce, and cinnamon loukoumathes with almonds, drizzled in honey.
Sounds pretty good doesn’t it? We booked and visited on a Tuesday evening.
The restaurant is in the central Sydney area and was only 15 minutes walk from our hotel. The place looked okay when we arrived – not really Greek but cosy enough. There was one other table with a group of diners, otherwise the place was empty, which looking back was sort of surprisng as it was the day of the Melbourne Cup horse race and the whole town was full of revellers.
The waitress was friendly, took our Travelzoo voucher and offered us a choice of free drinks; we had a red wine and a beer, both good. We also had glasses of tap water.
Fried squid, pita bread with olives and taramosalata, something that was supposed to be tzatziki and a plate with deep-fried cheese arrived. Big portions of everything.
Sadly the frying oil that had been re-used too many times and that old rancid oil taste had infused the squid and cheese. The cheese wasn’t Halloumi cheese, just something really horrible. The pitta bread was fine, the taramosalata just about. We left almost all the fried items and mentioned to the waitress oil was off.
Next was two large pieces of spicy grilled chicken, a piece of veal on top of over-boiled potataoes. The chicken was sort of okay, although I’m not sure what connection it had to Greece. The veal and potatoes were so bad that we started to worry that we might be ill from the food there.
We stopped eating and I went to the bathroom – not to be ill or anything just a standard visit. On my way there, I stopped at the counter and said “I’m not sure if there are any more courses to come, but if there are we don’t want them, so no point wasting food”.
One bathroom was out of order, the other was occupied by someone who sounded like they were ill or clearing their sinuses. I waited in the corridor among some old boxes and assorted buckets, some containing dirty liquid. The occupier of the bathroom appeared – it was one of the chefs.
The bathroom was okay with a hand dryer. It was while using this that I realised that I hadn’t heard the sound of the dryer prior to the chef leaving. As I left the bathroom, either the same chef, or the other chef went in.
I returned to our table and really started to worry about being ill – especially as we were flying to Tokyo the next evening. As it was, we were fine.
Knowing that I’d be writing such a bad review, I approached a couple of the waitresses and explained that we really hadn’t enjoyed the food and believed that the cooking oil had gone rancid. They both seemed genuinly surprised and said that most visitors really enjoy the food and the large portions – they also said that they ate the food and loved it. They did agree to pass on my comments to the chef.
As you can guess, I really can’t recommend this restaurant. The staff are friendly and so you could maybe pop in for a drink – just don’t order any food!
47 Reservoir Street
Tel: (02) 9281 2228