After having a meal at this Greek restaurant, I have every intention to make Greece on my travel bucket list.
This is just in my Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, but I took a while before visiting Bakalaki Greek Taverna. It may seem that I am going to be a regular there.
Bakalaki makes you feel like in the land of the Mediterranean once you step in (if you ignore the noises of nearby traffic).
The interior is warm and welcoming, reminiscent of a traditional Greek home designed by award-winning Greek designer Dimitris Economou.
I told my friend that to make a visit to the washroom, and you can see the attention to details all the way there. It was confirmed by the Assistant Manager Christos Parlapanis (he looks Greek), that the entire renovations cost more than a million dollars.
Before ordering your food, you can take a look at a wall of wine made in the shape of the Greek flag. An olive tree, a real one, is situated in the middle of the restaurant.
The energy was buzzling both times I visited, and service crew knowledgeable and pro-active (which I find always lacking in many new restaurants, actually even established ones).
I spotted some familiar faces, likely to be from my other favourite Greek restaurant Blu Kouzina.
The word “Bakaliko” (μπακάλικο) represents a traditional neighbourhood store, while “Meraki”(μεράκι) represents the love, spirit and soul in everything that Balakaki creates.
With no pun intended, many of the items of the menu look Greek to me.
For your benefit, some of the recommended include Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt, $14.90), Spanakopita (Greek Filo Pastry $15.90), Moussaka (Minced Beef Casserole $25.90), Beef Souvlaki (Beef Skewers, $18.90) , Paidakia (Grilled Lamb Chops, $32.90), Htapodi (Grilled Octopus, $32.90), Mixed Grill Fish & Seafood Platters ($118.90), ending with desserts of Baklava (Filo Pastry, $14.90), and Loukoumades (Greek Doughnuts, $14.90).
Food is on the expensive side.
For a starter, I just wanted something light and was recommended the Horiatiki ($20.90), a traditional Greek Salad.
I mean, I had many “Greek Salads” in several restaurants, and this felt like REAL Greek Salad. The vegetables used were fresh, the tomatoes sweet, olives tasty, and the extra-virgin olive oil was top-notch quality.
Then I learnt the olive oil was a house-brand made by cold-pressing olives only from Koroneiki Trees.
I also ordered the Bakalaki Mixed Salad ($23.90). Unfortunately, I didn’t like this very much as the lettuce used didn’t look that fresh (was yellowish) and the vinegar sauce used covered up the natural sweetness of the ingredients.
The Moussaka ($25.90), a baked casserole of beef minced meat, eggplant, potato and béchamel sauce is also worth a try.
The server commented that the restaurant still does it the traditional way from scratch, instead of say just putting everything into the oven.
The skewers are available wrapped in pita bread ($15.90 – $18.90), or if I may suggest just top up a few dollars more to get two skewers with the bread placed separately.
The Grilled Chicken ($23.90) I had was evenly grilled, juicy and moist.
I am all for recommending the Giaourti ($12.90) as well. This may be pricey Greek Yoghurt, but after that spoonful, I lingered at the thick-textured creaminess. This is real, simple, good stuff.
If a trip to Greece seems faraway, I take comfort that Bakalaki Greek Taverna is not too far away to feel like I am going on a holiday.
The next thing I worry about, is about the crowd that will pack in.
Bakalaki Greek Taverna
3 Seng Poh Rd Singapore 168891
Opening Hours: 6:00pm – 12:00am (Mon – Thurs), 6:00pm – 1:00am (Fri – Sun)
More Info: danielfooddiary.com