Going Greek… Costas Taverna

Well the seven of us ventured out on a cold frosty Christchurch night down to Costas Taverna, Cranford Street.  What a busy place!  The warmth of the bar and restaurant was a welcome change to the near freezing temperatures outside.  The biggest downside of the place is probably the size of the bar – we had arranged to meet for drinks around 7.15pm as we had a seating at 8pm, and although the development in Cranford Street had other eating venues, there wasn’t much choice for pre-dinner drinks.  So a bar that has room for about 6 people at it maximum and the few small tables in the bar area reserved for eating as well, meant it was a bit cramped.

However!  The rest of the evening was a delight.

We were taken to our table and I must say our service staff were great – there was a changing of the guard about halfway through, but the wait staff advised us, told us who would take over and communicated well throughout the night with specials, getting drinks etc.

So, what you want to know about is the food, right?  Well, only a few went for entrees – Meatballs, Grandma’s Cheese Pastries and some Garlic pita was ordered.  Everyone seemed to enjoy them – I had a nibble on a piece of Garlic pita and it was indeed very garlicky!  mmm.

Then on to mains.  Once again I was enjoying myself too much to pull out the camera, so I’m relying on memory and can’t quite get the full seven dishes ordered – but amongst our orders were Moussaka, Lamb Shanks, Chicken Fillet Souvlaki Platter, Lamb Salata and I went for the Fresco Lemonata Chicken.  The best recommendation is: all the plates were empty at the end!  My Lemonata Chicken was absolutely beautiful.  I went for the regular size, which was probably a good idea as it was still very substantial. Beautiful chicken on a spinach/rice mound over roasted vegetables, smothered in lovely creamy lemon herby sauce.  Despite it being a creamy sauce, it wasn’t overly rich, so I was satisfied but not stuffed!  One of the guys ordered the Chicken Fillet Souvlaki Platter and also went for regular size – the difference being 150g of chicken or 300g.  Even he said that it was more than enough and he would have struggled with another 150g of chicken – but told me his dish was fabulous.  Presentation of all the dishes was great.

Having the later sitting meant that we were left to eat our meal at our leisure – this is a VERY busy place, so the earlier option of 5.30pm would have meant we were being pushed out for the later sitting, so a word to the wise if you’re booking at weekends which is obviously peak trading!

Dessert menus were brought out and one of the best things about any restaurant is if they offer “mini” or “bite-sized” options.  Costas do just that – full or mini desserts.  So for someone like me who has a gigantic sweet tooth, but is trying to be good, I can indulge without feeling bad.  I had a mini serve of the Baklava Ice-cream and it was just the perfect amount of sweetness to end the evening.  4 indulged in mini’s (all choosing the ice-cream!) and two indulged in full desserts – the Chocolate Mousse Mountain and the Rizogalo Caramel (a rice pudding with a creme brulee type toffee on top).  I did sample a tiny bit of both of these – the mousse was superb (especially the very berry sorbet) and the rice had a lovely touch of cinnamon to it.

All in all a fabulous evening with great food – definitely need to go back to try out some of the other options on the menu.  It is quite a substantial menu with plenty of choice.

The bill for 7 of us came to $333.  Which is less than $50 each.  Definitely affordable given that included our drinks – you could spend up large or go cheap – the options on the menu allow for all situations!

9/10 from me!!!

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