Romanzo, Westbourne

The second visit in recent weeks to sample the culinary delights of Westbourne, with my friend Megan Saunders in tow. Unlike our last visit to Plates & Co., we were able to leave Megan’s 1-year-old daughter Tabitha at home with her father, so as to have a more dignified (and less messy) dinner.

I have been trying to go to Romanzo for years. In fact, it has long been on the list of restaurants to sample with another recurring dinnermate of mine, Miss Ellie Wicks, but our schedules are simply too conflicted to allow. So when the opportunity arose with Megan, I just could not refuse.

Keftedes - Greek-style meatballs served with a tomato and onion chutney

Keftedes – Greek-style meatballs served with a tomato and onion chutney

Romanzo is a Greek restaurant, which is a definite first for Expensive Tastes, and therefore all the more important a review. Our choices were based on the two-course evening set menu, which operates from Monday to Thursday weekly. On my side, was a dish entitled Keftedes (see pictured) – basically a Greek lamb meatball dish. I often find one can’t go wrong with meatballs as a starter – they are just enough to tempt the palate towards a greater reward in the main course. Delightfully savoury yet with a sufficient amount of mint and tomato in the sauce, which the menu calls a chutney. No offence meant, but it isn’t something I can see accompanying a dish of pâté any time soon – based on the consistency above anything else.

Garlic Mushrooms

Garlic Mushrooms

Megan opted for something I will not go near: Garlic Mushrooms (see pictured), pan-fried in garlic butter with lemon and white wine. Now I may despise the very idea of mushrooms, but I cannot deny an awesome-smelling dish when it is right there in front of me. The gorgeous garlic aroma emanated so far that I felt as though it was flavouring my meatballs. And it was a pleasant surprise to see mushrooms not coated in either breadcrumbs or batter.

Dolmades - pork and beef mincemeat, rice and tomatoes wrapped in vine leaves

Dolmades – pork and beef mincemeat, rice and tomatoes wrapped in vine leaves

My main course was somewhat smaller than I imagined – Dolmades (see pictured), a mixture of pork and beef mincemeat, rice and tomatoes wrapped in vine leaves (we had to re-examine the menu to find out exactly what the leaves were, as neither I nor Megan could remember). I clearly didn’t read it very well, because I didn’t even recognise the dish when it was presented to me. With this dish comes a plate of roast potatoes and a bowl of Greek salad, from which I mainly stole the wickedly salty Feta cheese, which I love. That was just to compliment the delicately savoury flavours of the meat and rice. There was a ravioli element to this dish, mainly with the consistency of the mincemeat – it had become crumbly, for want of a better word, within the vine leaf parcels, whereas the tomatoes had all but dissolved, it seemed to me. A delicious dish, nonetheless, albeit a bit small in my opinion for an entrée. But it was something that struck me as quite easy and attractive to make. Greek night, anyone?

Stifado - a traditional Greek beef stew served on a bed of rice with vegetables

Stifado – a traditional Greek beef stew served on a bed of rice with vegetables

One thing that both Megan and I have a fondness for is stew – in fact, just last week I was treated to one of her delicious lamb stews (even though she had run out of garlic, to her dismay). Her choice of main course was in a similar vein. Natively referred to as Stifado (see pictured), this dish comprised of a stew of diced beef, onions and red wine, served on a bed of rice and either vegetables (as Megan chose) or a Greek salad. Now you have to admit that when you hold that dish up against the Dolmades we just talked about, with or without the sides, that is still a portion more worthy of the title “Main Course”.

That all being said, I must confess I felt half-a-foot wider by the end of the meal. If I had had a dessert, such as a Greek-style Trifle (consisting of bananas, oranges and caramel) for example, I may not have been able to walk home! We each had a glass of house white wine to accompany the meal, which brought our bill to £18 each. The service was pleasant and conversational, but only approached us when necessary; there were no extra little visits just to see how everything was going or anything like that. Nevertheless, for the first Greek meal reviewed here at Expensive Tastes, it was not half-bad.

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