Wednesday, 13 August 2008

The Lounge Bistro

I don't get to Nundah very often, but I'd read a few articles about The Lounge Bistro and had been meaning to give it a try for a while.

The Lounge Bistro serves Greek food. I have such good memories of the food I ate in Greece, that I always look forward to going to a new Greek restaurant. The decor at The Lounge Bistro is pretty basic, and it has a homey kind of feel, with unmatched chairs and tables. We arrived at about 8pm on a Saturday night and it looked like the busiest part of the evening was over.

The menu is long, with plenty of options. Entrees (mezethes) range from dolmades (rice wrapped in vine leaves), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), maridaki tiganito (pan-fried whitebait) and calamari. I ordered the octapodi skaras (char-grilled baby octopus) which was served with a green salad and garnished with julienned beetroot and carrot. The green salad had mint and parsley in it, which really added to the flavours of the dish. The octopus tasted great - it had been just cooked, and was tender, rather than chewy. It was a generous serving too.

We also had the saganaki (deep fried cheese) for entree. The menu didn't say what cheese it actually was, but it wasn't haloumi. Again it was a good sized serving, and came with a green salad. The cheese had a really salty flavour, but went well with the garlic based sauce. It would be a great match with a beer or two.

Until this stage of the night the service had been great. But when we were about half way through our entrees, we looked up to see a waitress bringing over our main courses. She realised on the way to the table that we were still eating our entrees and turned around. Unfortunately the kitchen was only a few metres from where we were sitting, and the two meals then just sat on the kitchen counter without any heat on them until they were brought back to the table about 5 minutes later.

Not surprisingly, when our main courses did make it to the table, they weren't very hot. That's always disappointing, especially when its the middle of winter and the restaurant isn't air conditioned. We dug into our mains anyway. So much for a break between courses.

I decided to go for gyros for main course - marinated lamb cooked on a spit served on a flat bread with green salad. This was an enormous plate of food. Half the plate was the lamb and the other half was pretty much the same salad that accompanied my entree. The whole plate was covered with tzatziki that had loads of garlic in it. The lamb was very good - most of the pieces had an excellent crunchy crust, which really added to the flavour and texture of the dish. As hard as I tried, I couldn't finish off the plate.

We also had one of the vegetarian options for mains - tomatoes stuffed with feta, breadcrumbs, oregano and mint. There were two tomatoes, which were served with two different sauces - one a rich, thick sauce on the bottom of the plate, and the garlicky tzatziki poured over the top. The tomatoes were served with some cold sweet potato chips on the top (which I found a bit odd - maybe they were hot when it was cooked) and some deep fried shallots. There was no shortage of garnish, believe me. Again it was an enormous serving, which we couldn't finish off.

Other main courses on offer include moussaka (layers of eggplant, potato, meat and bechamel sauce), pastitsio (macaroni with minced beef & fresh tomatoes finished with a bechamel sauce), fish of the day, a Greek beef stew, kotopoulo souvlaki (marinated chicken fillets on skewers) and a couple of king prawn dishes, which sounded very tempting.

I had been looking forward to enjoying a bottle of Greek wine with dinner, but I was told that they had none of their dry red wine left, which was a shame. I find it so hard to find any Greek wine in Brisbane restaurants. We ordered a half litre carafe of their house wine instead, which was pretty good value at $15. All of the wine on the compact list is well priced, or you can BYO if you prefer.

We had no room for dessert, but sweet options include some delicious looking galaktoboureko (custard filled pastry slice) and baklava, together with non-Greek options like Turkish delight cheesecake and a white chocolate mud cake. If you need a proper Greek coffee to finish off the meal, you can get one here for $6.

Overall I was a little disappointed with the food we had on our visit. Trying to serve us our main course while we were still eating entrees didn't help. I saw exactly the same thing happen to another table that sat down just after us. I think the meals were a bit over-garnished too, which detracted from the main flavours of what we had actually ordered. If our meals hadn't have been so rushed, and the meals were more focused on the core ingredients of each dish, it would have been a more enjoyable night out.

Although the timing of our meals wasn't the best, the waitresses that looked after us during the night were very friendly, helped out with our questions from the menu and made us feel very welcome to the restaurant. The bill came to $83 including our wine, so prices are very reasonable.

If you're planning on visiting The Lounge Bistro, I suggest that you only order dips or just a few nibbles for starters. The main courses really are huge, so you won't need to go crazy with your entrees.

What does all this mean? Tasty Greek food served in very generous portions, but service was a bit patchy.

food bling ratings
Food - OK
Service - Poor
Ambience - Indoor and outdoor seating, with a casual home-style feel
Value for Money - Great
Wine - A compact, well priced selection or BYO
Vegetarian - Good

The Lounge Bistro
Shop 1, 1252 Sandgate Road
Nundah 4012
P - 07 3266 6144

Lounge Bistro on Urbanspoon

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