El Greco (CLOSED)
Time Out says
A Greek romance
Grey, rainy days left you hankering for the sunny shores of the Mediterranean? Well, as you know, this city has been blessed with its fair share of beaches, not to mention the South Side’s startling resemblance – on a good day – to the hillsides that stretch from Marseilles to Mykonos. And these hills, as it happens, were partly the inspiration for El Greco, Hong Kong’s latest – and possibly most authentic – Greek restaurant.
Literally translated, the name means ‘The Greek’ (go figure), but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that El Greco is in fact an historical figure and famed artist from the Spanish Renaissance, whose real name was Doménicos Theotokópoulos.Renowned for his dramatic paintings and sculptures, his work proved so unclassifiable that artistic scholars have been unable to place him into any particular category. But enough history, let’s talk location.
While technically on the South Side, El Greco is covering new ground by basing itself in the traditional environs of Ap Lei Chau Main Street – and this may well prove to be a very smart move. After all, the rent must be cheaper than anywhere in Repulse Bay or Stanley, plus by being the only true Western restaurant in the district, they’ll have a monopoly on taste. Should you never have ventured to old Ap Lei Chau (though you’ve undoubtedly passed above it on the way to South Horizons or Horizon Plaza), the area consists of a small grid of streets, along which there is a microcosm of urban Hong Kong life – the government wet market, supermarkets, stationery stores, and cha chaan tengs.
It is among these that the more adventurous will find El Greco, a corner space notable for its bright white and blue colour scheme (of course), and bright, airy feel. Oh, and its proximity to the Aberdeen waterfront, with views of the fishing fleet and the floating Jumbo. Beyond the views and décor, the menu is a big helping of Greek family fare. All of the favourites are here: healthy Greek salad ($78/small, $130/large), flavour-packed mezze platters with hummus, baba ganoush, tzatziki and pita ($98/small, $160/large), and the famed spanakopita ($78), a hearty spinach pie with onions, cheese, and herbs all encased in crispy phyllo pastry.
The portions are large, with everything tasting both fresh and authentic – no surprise when you discover that the manager, Saki Chatzichristidis, is one of Hong Kong’s major importers of Greek produce, personally selecting the ingredients that go into each dish as well as the olive oil that graces every table – not to mention the numerous Greek wines, which are the perfect accompaniment to wash down this delightful meal in a surprisingly Mediterranean style setting. Ou Runyi
G/F, 5 Wai Fung St, Ap Lei Chau, 2328 2138. Tue-Sat 12pm-3pm & 6pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-11pm. Meal for two: around $500.