Gazi, the Greek street food restaurant from perennial tip toe standing Masterchef host George Colombaris, is not somewhere you go for revelatory food.
You go for good times, loud people, and a quick bite before heading to the main event.
Now lets break it down.
The first thing that struck me as I walked in, having never even been to the old Press Club before, was the size of the place. It’s large, and the acoustics aren’t great. Maybe it’s the hundreds of clay pots hanging from the ceiling (a design feature that, like Colombaris, tries a little too hard and just misses the mark – sorry but its true). As a result, or maybe because of this, the place is jumping. It’s loud and brash, and fun.
The food is pleasureable without being anything special. It manages to walk the ‘Im too cool for school but look how I’m keeping it real by serving street food’ line so very well. How can it not be successful in a city that basically invented the concept.
At its core it is just Greek street food. Good dip, good saganaki, good souvlaki. But lets face it, dip, saganaki and souvlaki should be good. Have you ever known them not to be? Like pizza, even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.
The souvlaki is ok, but it’s the same recipe as Jimmy Grants. The saganaki is too sweet for my liking (dripping in honey and raisons), and the dip was, well its dip – is it ever memorable? None of it was bad, but it won’t make you go back for more.
When you venture away from the street food, you get a glimpse of its potential. The whole snapper was deliciously fragrant and moreish. You wonder why the street food occupies three quarters of the menu. Its like it’s the middle child in the family. Trying to compete with both its little brother Jimmy Grants, and its older brother The Press Club. Come on Gazi, be your own person (now I’m reflecting, but it’s a topic I feel strongly about).
Where was I? Right, the restaurant. Go once, you wont regret it, and you will even enjoy it (I certainly did), but it will always be the easy option, and never the ‘must go’ place.
Then again, being so cool, and keeping it real the way it does, it probably doesn’t want to be that guy anyway.
Whatever Gazi. Whatever.