|Greek, Italian, Levantine, Spanish
|Tah Kah Kee
It’s been said that the easiest way to travel around the world and experience different cultures is through food. So, when we had the chance to visit Roots Mediterranean which specialises in Mediterranean fare combining Italian, Spanish, Greek and Levantine cuisines we couldn’t resist! Located in Greenwood Avenue, this concept restaurant is all set to take it’s patrons on a spectacular multi cultural and ethnic journey with it’s palate pleasing and taste buds scintillating dishes and amazing presentation as well. The culinary team are proud to point out that all the ingredients used are fresh and the recipes are original, meaning they are as close as they can be to the authentic and traditional flavours of the region.
Launched in August 2019, the restaurant has already developed a buzz among the expats and locals. With their tagline, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, nudged between the row of shops the interior is graced by rough brick walls, wooden tiles and earthy tones giving the restaurant a cozy and homely feeling. It definitely feels like a place where one can sit back, relax and truly enjoy their meal. Another thing that might just add onto the relaxation element is the restaurant’s wine collection. Wine being the protagonist of the culinary concept as much as the food, your meal will be a miss without a fine glass of wine. If you’d rather have a beer or two, then you are in luck as they offer beers from Italy, Spain and Greece starting at $7. Wines start from $29 and they offer over 40 types of wines under $60.
Our culinary journey through Mediterranean began with four delightful dips namely Tzatziki, Tirokafteri, Hummus and Melinzano Salata. All the four dips were paired with freshly baked Focaccia Bread which somehow was crispy and delicate at the same time. Tzatziki known as the ultimate greek dip is a combination of greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. This creamy dip turned out to be quite refreshing. Tirokafteri was a spicy and cheesy affair with a spread of yogurt, feta cheese and chilli. This second dip was a cheesy affair and offered a hot and spicy option which was tangy, savoury and truly irresistible. Now came the dip we all were eagerly waiting for, the iconic Hummus. The expectations were high and boy were they met. This mix of chick peas cream with sesame paste offered a smooth texture and since it was sprinkled with paprika the savouriness of the dip came out as well. Lastly we had the Melinzano Salata which was made up of roasted eggplant, extra virgin olive oil and parsley. If you are an eggplant lover then this dip is definitely for you. The roasted eggplant was extremely flavourful and the parsley added another layer of natural fragrance and flavour.
After the dips, it was time to experience the flavour of Lebanon with the Fattoush Salad. This simple mixed green salad was seasoned with pomegranate molasse, lemon and topped with croutons. A frequent participant on every middle eastern dinner table the salad with all its herbs was remarkably fresh and zesty. Unlike the salads which are topped with creams and sauces the Fattoush Salad was simple and tasted really pure. The croutons added a crispy texture to the salad while the pomegranate molasse brought out the sour tanginess. The salad was what a proper salad is supposed to be, light, flavourful, straight from the garden and amazingly flavourful.
Next we were offered Mini Stuffed Peppers which were stuffed with parmesan cheese and tuna and were served with freshly baked focaccia bread. The tiny bite sized stuffed peppers were so appetising, we could have easily had a couple more servings of them. The pepper itself wasn’t that spicy so people with low spice tolerance can also savour the flavour. The cheese and tuna stuffing combo was perfect as they were extremely soft and both the textures complemented each other quite well. Pairing a fresh baked bread with cheese stuffing is never a bad idea. The soft bread with it’s subtle sweet flavour matched perfectly with the savoury pepper.
It was time to switch up the texture and try Milanese Bites, described as breaded milanese escalope, served in small chunks. In simpler terms mialnese bites can be transcribed as a breaded cutlet. Most of us might be familiar with its equivalent term used in Japan, “Katsu”. These crispy thin and small pieces of breaded chicken were soft, tender whereas the added cherry tomatoes and olives brought the tangy texture while the herbs enhanced the flavour of the dish.
Fried Halloumi Cheese was up next which was made with fried cubes of halloumi cheese, semi confit cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives. Halloumi cheese can be referred to as the saltier version of mozzarella as they both have the same consistency. This saltiness of the cheese manages to come through even when it’s fried but the cherry tomatoes and the olives manage to cut through the saltiness and add a tangy and fresh dimension to this starter.
Now, it was time to dive deep and try some seafood based starters.
First up was Garides Saganaki; sauté prawns cooked lightly in a slightly spicy tomato sauce topped with feta cheese. The dish overall was a really light tasting dish. The use of sauce and cheese was in perfect ratio with the servings of prawns thus not overpowering them. As the prawns are sautéd, you can definitely taste and feel the freshness
Second was the Octopus Gallego which is the restaurant’s version of a Spanish classic. The dish consisted of Octopus chunks served over warmed potatoes with smoked paprika and extra virgin olive oil. The octopus had an extremely chewy texture and was cooked to perfection. The generous chunks of octopus paired really well with soft and tender baked potatoes. The smoked paprika along with fresh herbs sprinkled with olive oil made this dish one of our favourites of the evening. This dish truly packed a flavour.
Finally we ate our way to the final starter which was the Croquettas de Jamon Y Queso. These crispy breaded ham and cheese croquettes were an absolute delight. The impossible to resist fried bundle of joys were crunchy and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The ham and cheese filling is a pairing we don’t deserve but are grateful we did. The crunch sound and the rush of oozy filling on your tongue make these little delights a must have. The accompanying dip added another texture to the dish.
Done with the starters it was now time to visit Italy and indulge in Roots Mediterranean’s Pizza options. The restaurant offers two main kinds of pizzas namely Red Pizza and White Pizza. The unique twist is that they offer the Pizzas in terms of meter and centimetre. So, square shaped. The pizza’s dough is extremely light and fluffy. The crunchiness at the border of the crust is also an added texture bonus.
The red pizza includes two choices. The first one being Greek pizza made up of tomato sauce, feta cheese, kalamata olives, oregano and cherry tomatoes. Suitable for vegetarians and the veggie lovers out there the pizza offers tanginess of cherry tomatoes and olives with the herby flavour of sauce and oregano. The feta cheese adds to the softness of the dough.
The second red pizza is Capricciosa which is a mix of tomato sauce, mushroom, pork ham, green olives and artichoke. The lightly spread tomato sauce works well with the texture of mushrooms and green olives whereas the artichoke brings the slightly nutty and subtle sweet flavour.
There is only one offering for the white pizza, called Burrata and Parma made up of confit cherry tomatoes, burrata cheese, Parma ham, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. The absence of tomato sauce isn’t felt in the least as the salty and savoury flavour of parma ham and the softness and sweet milky flavour of burrata cheese mixed with fresh basil herbs and extra virgin olive oil make this a classic Italian pizza.
A quick disclaimer before we tell you about the next dish, by this time we were completely stuffed so the upcoming dish was served to us in a sample size. So, when you order this dish, you’ll be served as per the restaurant’s serving norm.
Right then, after pizza comes…Pasta! The next dish we were presented with was Ravioli! Not 1 or 2 but 4 different kinds namely, Black ink Giganti Smoked Salmon which consisted of Ricotta Cheese and Smoked Salmon, Lunette Truffle made up of Cheese and Black Truffle, Capellacci Pumpkin which had Pumpkin and Parmesan Cheese and Half Moon Ricotta Spinach made with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach.
As expected the black ink giganti smoked salmon was black in colour due to the black ink and the flavour of the smoked salmon could also be felt through the thin layers of pasta. The lunette truffle is a delight for cheese lovers, it is made up of various types of cheeses and topped with the black truffle sauce. One of our favourites for the night.
The capellacci pumpkin & half moon ricotta spinach were our other two favourites as well. The pumpkin adds a sweetness to the saltiness of the cheese while the spinach in the half moon brings a freshness with the creaminess and softness of the ricotta cheese.
Now it was time for the main course which included two dishes. The first one being Octopus & Prawns which was crispy pan seared, extra tender octopus tentacle served with sautéed king prawns over a juicy roasted eggplant slice, topped with balsamic vinegar reduction. This dish is where the minute details and extra effort made by the chef is displayed centre staged. The sheer presentation of this dish and the way the dish was set up was extraordinary. If you want to experience the difference, the placement of various elements of the dish make then this octopus & prawn is the ultimate contender. Set upon a big roasted eggplant, the two octopus tentacle was tender and flawlessly chewy. Vinegar worked as an appetite enhancer and the roasted eggplant along with the prawns made this an exquisite multilayered dish. A definite must have!
The second main course option was straight from the oven, known as the Greek national dish we were presented with Moussaka. A potato and eggplant layered dish with minced meat and bechamel. Visually the same as a lasagna the fresh out the oven golden and crispy glaze on the dish was self evident. Multi Layered with potato, eggplant, aromatic minced beef, and topped with the creamy bechamel sauce, this dish is full of flavour and was truly delicious.
Any guesses what was up next? Oh yes, It was dessert time. Time to loosen our belts and jump aboard the dessert train. First up was the ever so classic and iconic Italian Tiramisu. Tiramisu loosely translates to “Pick Me Up” in Italian and this dessert does just that. Made from scratch, the freshness of the coffee and Italian cream cheese can be felt easily with a slight taste of alcohol. The sponge is really soft and has an amazing texture. Overall the perfect pick me up dessert.
Up next were Cream Catalana; Spanish cream, scented with vanilla, cinnamon and lemon zest, served cold with caramelised sugar crust and Frozen Pistachio Profiteroles, Hot Chocolate and Cherries which included crispy choux filled with pistachio ice cream, topped with hot chocolate sauce and amarena cherries. Both these desserts were fruity delights and offered a flavourful and toothsome ending to a mesmerising evening.
In the end, we experienced an absolute gastronomic feast which consisted of multiple cuisines, layered with various techniques, aromas and cultural significance. The culinary team at Roots Mediterranean does an impeccable job of coming up with all these mouth-watering dishes. With the use of fresh ingredients and deciding to stick with the roots of the dishes’ tradition and authenticity, the restaurant delivers an honest, goodness filled wholesome dining affair. The affordable prices, friendly staff, relaxed and cosy atmosphere makes Roots Mediterranean a perfect contender for a pleasant dining option.
|2 Greenwood Avenue,
|Daily: 11.00am to 11.00pm