Greek Week @ Daluva

UPDATE: Daluva changed owner in early of 2017. Just in case anyone visits and finds things are different from what I wrote 🙂

As I stated in my previous post, I was looking forward to try good in Greek Week of Daluva.

Click để xem bài viết Tiếng Việt

MEZZE PLATE

Dolmas/ντολμάς

“La Lot” Dolma
“La Lot” Dolma

Dolmas are stuffed leaves. My favorite Dolmas are the ones I tried at a Mediterranean restaurant in NYC. Filling was rice, mint, currant, pine nuts, dill, wrapped in fresh vine leaves. However, Dolmas in Daluva were an experiment, with raisins and rice, wrapped in lá lốt (piper lolot leaves) and cooked in a tomato sauce. It is similar with the way these leaves are used in Vietnam, e.g, grilled beef wrapped in lolot leaves.

The rice was not fully cooked so it was still crispy when I chewed. I asked Shay and he said it is the way they eat rice in Middle East, so I did not give any further comment. I don’t really like this way of cooking rice, though.

Vietnamese “taramasalata”

Vietnamese
Vietnamese “Taramosalata”

Tarama “fish roe” + Salata “salad”, is traditionally made from salted or cured fish roe. Fish eggs are mixed with bread crumbs or mashed potato, and lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil. It is usually eaten as a dip, with bread and salad, with raw vegetables.

Taramasala is not possible to find in Vietnam so Shay (the owner) had another experiment with “mắm tôm” – shrimp paste – a famous and must-have ingredient in lots of Vietnamese food. A small amount of mam tom blended with soaked bread crumbs, onion, olive oil, and lots of garlic. Although I have not tried original Taramasala, I must say the taste of Vietnamese version with bread, was really weird for me 😀 Strange, but not strange…and I don’t think this dish is for everyone, both original and Vietnamese ones 🙂

Tomatokeftedes/ντοματοκεφτεδες

Tomatokeftedes
Tomatokeftedes

These were cool tomato fritters, my most favorite one in meze that day. Shay did not really follow tradition, by adding chopped clam, and seasoning with dill.

Pantzaria Salata – Παντζάρια Σαλάτα

Pantzaria Salata
Pantzaria Salata

Red Beet Salad: Beet was roasted to maximize sweetness, dressed by yogurt. Walnut boiled three times, and then roasted and chopped. Regarding Shay, beets have complex sugars. When roasted, they break down into simpler ones. And those start caramelizing and giving more complexity.

Marinated Olives

Marinated Olives
Marinated Olives

Marinated Olives with lemon zest and oregano.

MAIN COURSE

Octopus ‪Stifado

Below is few words on Daluva’s Facebook page about this dish.

Stifado/Χταπόδι στιφάδο

A bit of an obscure dish to most out Greece (although the rabbit version is popular among Greek in Australian, so Ozzies might have come across it), but a damn tasty one.

It’s a kind of stew that hankers to old European cuisine, one that would look quite odd to contemporary folks. Food back then was closer to what we sometimes think of as “Asian food” nowadays (at least what the rich people ate. Poorer folks had much less variety and options than they have now). Lots of spices, sweet and sour, often curry like.

The main ingredients in a stifado are pearl onions, red wine, vinegar and honey. Also often some tomatoes, but that of course wouldn’t have been found in older versions, as tomatoes are relatively new arrivals in Europe from the Americas. To that, various spices and flavorings are added. This base is very popular with pork (and pork tongue), with rabbit (or hare), and with octopus (as the we are cooking up next week), but all other meats can be used.

In my version, I spice the the stew with cinnamon, all spice, cumin and orange peel. I use local shallots to replace the pearl onions, and my Israeli experience compelled me to add chickpeas to good effect.

Octopus Stifado (served with Rice Pilaf)
Octopus Stifado (served with Rice Pilaf)

Octopus braised in a spiced sweet and sour red wine sauce, whole shallots, and chickpeas, with rice pilaf. Taste was a bit sweet, and not too strong. At first, I did not see the match between chickpeas and octopus, however, after reducing my eating speed (ouch 😀 ) I felt that it seriously needed slow and well-chewing in order to feel the blend of flavors.

Rice Pilaf (served with Octopus Stifado)
Rice Pilaf (served with Octopus Stifado)

Fluffy and fragrant rice pilaf: Basmati rice is cooked pilaf style. For an unusual Vietnamese who does not like eating rice since toddler, this bowl was quite a bless 😀 I want to learn it to cook my rice from now on!

Artichoke Cream Pasta
DSC08979
Artichoke Cream Pasta with white wine and sauteed artichoke. My friend loved it, especially the cream sauce! I found myself joining her in the end of the meal to take all cream sauce left.

Moroccan Spiced Beef Koftas
DSC08975
Moroccan Spiced Beef Koftas with couscous, roasted tomato, green tahini, tomato and cucumber salad. I did not know if chef added vein or tendon inside this beef ball, it was chewy, fibrous, soft duty masses of connective tissue inside 😦 Or maybe the beef was not cooked well-done? The green tahini sauce was yummy.

DESSERT

I ordered Banana “Baklava”, with fried banana in phyllo and nut crispy shell, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce; and recommended my friend the Dessert God dish for chocolate lover: Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Truffle Tart.

My friend was fully speechless with the chocolate tart. She literally remained silent in few seconds before bursting into “wow” “delicious” “omg” 😀

Banana Baklava: This dessert has a multi thin layers of dough (phyllo) and nut crispy shell, which reminded me about Banh Pia (a Vietnamese adapted Suzhou mooncake), except crispiness is replaced by softness. I wondered if they served homemade vanilla ice cream, I wanted to ask for more (FYI, I’m purely a chocolate ice-cream lover, vanilla ice cream sometimes is meh). Last but not least, the caramel sauce was perfect touch, full of caramel smell and rich flavor 🙂 First bite: crispy nutty taste, plus soft sweet banana, plus caramel sauce (an a bit of vanilla ice cream if you can cover them all), well, I don’t know if they have banana baklava in Greece but they definitely should!

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