I was first introduced to Greek food around the time ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ was released. My mother loved the movie and one day announced we would be going to a Greek restaurant. I was excited – after all, I was a girl who was ‘cultured’, eating Kimchi at the age of six, escargot by seven, and a plethora of other delicacies my friends hadn’t even heard of, let alone considered including in their strict Kraft-boxed-dinner repertoire.
The restaurant – My Big Fat Greek Restaurant (no joke) – was a chain and one where every fifteen minutes or so the wait-staff wildly danced around the room to lively Greek music, this dervish-like frenzy culminating in a shot of ouzo and a ritualistic smashing of plates. I know this doesn’t make me an expert in all things Greek, but it’ll have to do.
A disclosure: I prefer people I review to have no idea who I am at the time of the review to avoid special treatment. This time they knew I was coming and on arrival co-owner of Mix Greek Restaurant, Christos, looked at me with an expectant smile. On my guard I dangled the first lure.
‘What do you recommend?’ I asked, letting the menu fall to the table.
Christos blinked and gave a little shrug. ‘Everything’s good,’ he replied with boyish innocence.
A swing and a miss by rookie sensation, Kitty Ireland, folks – she’s gonna need a minute to come back from that one.
I couldn’t help the smile that formed on my lips at his natural response. No Kitty! I chided myself. You’re a seasoned writer, and a hard-as-nails reviewer (yes, two reviews does count, dammit). You can’t let yourself get taken in by Christos’ boyish, innocent charm.
I turned back to the menu but there was just so much to choose from. Haltingly, I stumbled through the exotic sounding names and quietly ordered a starter (the mix pita platter) and a main course of Raeti (no idea). Christos took my menu, and then asked me what I wanted to drink. ‘Water,’ I replied, and he gave me a look – one of incredulity – and ordered me a mango juice.
But Christos didn’t need to impress me or lay it on thick – the food spoke for itself.
I’ve had pita before – store bought and at the restaurant mentioned above – but not like this. It was fresh, warm, soft and salty. The platter came with eight triangular pieces, and six sauces, each one different. The one I’m going to rave about is the tirokafteri. It’s pink, and made with feta cheese and peppers … but it must’ve been sent from heaven directly to my mouth, it was that good. The tzatziki was fresh and creamy – probably the best I’ve ever had in my life. The hummus also was awesome. I’ve dabbled and tried making my own but the one at Mix just blew me away.
I mourned the loss of the tirokafteri as my next plate was served – several beef rolls atop a massive chunk of the brightest purple rice I have ever seen, covered in what appeared to be the white sausage gravy you get on biscuits at any Southern style restaurant in the U.S., with cooked vegetables all around it. I gave a confused look around the room, wondering what the hell I had just ordered. Then I shrugged and dug in.
The tirokafteri had returned! It came back to me! I knew it wouldn’t let me down, and it didn’t – it found its way into this dish, cleverly hidden inside the rolls of beef. Dear God … if I began to describe the next part, critics would be right in calling it obscene. It was a foodgasm, folks – no question about it – straight out of an Anthony Bourdain special showing people reacting to his food.
I can’t even begin to describe the dish – it was savory, salty, peppery, and left me very satisfied, and yet still craving for more. And at the end I still had room for a complimentary dessert – a small dish of chocolate with a cookie mixed in and a banana on top. I don’t know what they do to that dessert to make such a simple thing so delicious, but my imagination conjured up a unicorn named Saul sprinkling delicious unicorn dust on all the plates right before they go out – maybe a magical dash of MSG with the addictive qualities of cocaine.
It’s a good thing Christos is married to the marvelous Maria because I half-seriously fantasized how I could trap him in marriage so I could finally live out my dream of a husband who pampers me with exotic food – even if it’s not that exotic to him.
Mix Greek Restaurant is a win in every way – the staff, Christos, Maria and ultimately the food. If you haven’t been there, go, and if you have, go again. You won’t be disappointed. One of their famous Mix Platters will be my next target!
P.S. Ladies, if you want a special treat, check out the bathroom. It was surely designed with women in mind – in fact I know it was because, in a conversation with Maria, she told me she wanted it to be something special. And, as strange as it sounds for me to also include the bathroom in the review, it’s important. It’s a great bathroom, even tampons with applicators are included!!
188A/5 Tran Phu, Hoi An Old Town
+84 (0) 931 875 307