Vrisaki was recommended by my friend’s Greek hairdresser. You know when the hairdressers are talking about it, the place is worth a visit. All the way up the Northern line in Haringey, you enter the restaurant through a tiny kebab store. Not in an underground-restaurant-hidden-behind-a-hot-dog-stand-New-York-way but in a, purely practical, no-more-room way. They need every table they have at Vrisaki as the restaurant books out on the basis of the vast quantities of food available for the set price of £36 for two people for the mezze. Most people don’t seem to even bother opening the menu and just plump straight for what is essentially an all you can eat option plus some more. Perhaps the team of leather waist-coat clad, moustached elderly Greek male waiters are also part of the attraction.
Cold mezze selections – note the amount of dishes on the table!
MTV boyfriend and I ate at Vrisaki with Greedy Diva
, London Foodie
and their partners (it was London Foodie’s hairdresser who gave us the tip) it what was a Greek feast of epic proportions. There is nothing at all modern about Vrisaki, which is like a moth balled version of a 1950’s Greek taverna, even the sheer amount of food is from another era.
Some of the seafood on offer for the cold mezze selection
Accompanied by a thumping sound track of epic Greek ballads, the food starts to arrive. The first part of the mezze entirely blankets the table in an array of dips such as garlicky tzatziki, hommus, taramasalata along with olives, cold potatoes, tabbouleh and almost any other cold mezze item we could possibly imagine. The mezze is served with warm pita bread and is all pretty good with the exception of the prawns which are fairly measly looking specimens. In the end there are so many dishes that the waiters had to pile the tiny plates on top of each other.
Hallomi on gammon
Hot mezze follows includings slices of slightly rubbery grilled halloumi on gammon, a plate of huge circular field mushrooms grilled with garlic and lemon and a serving of crispy battered squid.
Just when all the buttons on our clothes feel like they are about to pop from over eating the seafood arrives. There is a plate of charcoal grilled butterflied prawns which have a lovely smokey flavour to them and a grilled whole sea bass which is unadorned apart from a squeeze of lemon. But wait, there’s still more, the meat course features plentiful chicken and sheftalia
although I have to admit I am slightly disappointed there is no lamb. I love the way the Greeks cook lamb. Somehow, admist the heaped table of food that famous second dessert stomach kicked in and a few of us were able to sample Vrisaki’s flaky, light baklava. There is a whole dessert trolley of Greek sweet treats available for anyone who still has room.
The meat course
As we were dining with some wine experts
we enjoyed exploring the predominantly Greek wine list and our enthusiasm for this process probably left our eventual bill being a lot higher than some patrons. My favourite was the 2007 Nemea from Tsantali a lovely berry and plum scented red wine.
Vrisaki has a great relaxed and unpretentious feel to it however, quality does suffer in favour of quantity. Personally I am more of a quality over quantity person as there is only so much a girl can eat! I don’t think I would make the trek to Haringey again but maybe it is worth it just for those moustached waiters.
Details: 73 Myddleton road, Haringey N22 8LZ (Ph 020 8889 8760) Tube: Bounds Green
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my reviews of Lemonia in Primrose Hill which does a similar mezze deal for £18.50 per person or the Greek restaurant Aphrodite in Bayswater.