September 4th, 2007

Does My Bomb Look Big In This?

Review - Nostos

We decided to pop out for a quiet dinner one night when we couldn't be bothered cooking... and having spied a recently opened Greek place on our street, there was no contest - we were off to Nostos. Things were going well - too well in fact - so my laughing companion asked if I had been "recognised". The answer was: "Yes, I knew who she was as soon as she walked through the door." I had to laugh.

That said, let me tell you about the decor - pleasantly free of Aegean blue and smashed plates - lovely earthy tones, two levels, permanent stage (starring Kosta with his Bouzouki as seen at Steki) and an outdoor (yes, you can smoke) courtyard! All this is hidden behind a genteel front, shuttered and subtle!

The Spring garden appearance of my Baked Feta ($13.50) made me smile - watercress, cherry tomatoes, creamy feta and a bed of crisp potato crepe weren't exactly traditional - but it was one of the few modern interpretations on the menu. Modern or otherwise, I liked it.

Foolishly I didn't document my partner's Keftedes ($13.50) - but they texturally the best meat-balls I have tried, and the spicy feta dip on them rocked... they were probably the best entree of the two - which is big coming from someone who isn't a fan of meat-balls. We were let in on the fact that they come from the owner's Mother's recipe, and that there are 8-9 mystery ingredients in them, baked (not fried). Add to that they're huge, and there are like 6 of them in a entree serve, and you get one big plate bursting with both value and taste!

We soaked up the red salsa with this lovely bread - apparently Italian and from Norton Street Grocer (one of my favourite stores).

We also had an 'ancient' salad called Cyclopea ($8.50) which had a lovely grated goats feta, olive oil and vinegar. You can see it in the background of the next photo:

In the foreground is my main - Mosharaki ($22.50) - the other modern take on Greek on the menu, veal filled with eggplant, Kaseri cheese and sage mousse, with a light tomato and shallot sauce. It was a taste of Summer, but did not even hold a candle to the dish of the night. *drumroll*

It was all about the Arni ($21). I can see some of you looking puzzled... no I am not usually that excited by big meaty lamb dishes, but this shoulder was slow-baked, and on the bone, and it was JUST PERFECT. The roasted garlic was amazingly sweet and full of flavour too. You can get a peek of the vegetables (which came WITH it, not as an extra) in the background.

We also got a few extras thrown in (shock, shock) - great sweets here, and if you come on a Friday or Saturday, come after 8.30pm for live Rebetaka (Greek blues).

The wine list, while not being outstanding, is very cheap. There are 7 or 8 whites ($21-$31 per bottle). You can enjoy 3 by the glass ($5.50-$8). Reds range from $21-$29.50 by the bottle, or $5.50-$8.00 by the glass. I was also interested in the Greek wines they had available ($21-$34 per bottle) - we tried Boutari Santorini ($6.50 glass/ $24 bottle).

All in all, it's a good value restaurant, punching above the prices in terms of value. Mains range from $17-$26 and that's well under what you expect these days in Sydney. But don't think for a second you'll be cleaning an entree and main plate - it's big serves of great food.

121 Norton Street, Leichhardt
(02) 9550 0144

Nostos on Urbanspoon
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