It was a cold and damp winter night in Wellington on Thursday, so the perfect time to imagine being in a sunny Greek taverna with the prospect of some lovely food. This year, one of our favourite places in town, Field & Green has created Bar Salonika, a pop up event with dishes from Salonika in Ottoman Greece. This is another interesting exploration by chef Laura Greenfield into the diaspora of Jewish cuisine, which we have the luck to experience in past Wellington on a Plate festivals. The food at Bar Salonika is a blend of the Spanish heritage of the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and their adopted home in what was then the Ottoman Empire.
I want to say it was a bit like ‘tapas meets maze’ but that seems a bit of a simplification. The menu was printed on a sheet of paper that could be taken away, which was rather useful for me and this blog post! The little dog in the picture is I am sure modelled on the owners’ dog. Apologies for the quality of photos – I was enjoying the food too much!
We started with a couple of dips – my favourite taramasalata – and tarator, a cucumber and yoghurt salad like tzatziki. Both were really excellent versions, and served with Pan de Horiadaki, a Greek Jewish country bread. We actually ordered some matzo as well to finish off the dips. Our first wine was a Spanish wine Quinto de Couselo ‘Barbuntini’ Albariño which went well with the food.
We then moved on to nugada, meatballs in red wine and walnut sauce, megina, a beef and matzo pie (top left), fijolettes, green beans with tomato, garlic and celery leaves and keftike de patata, a potato and cheese croquette. It was all very good, with the pie in particular a standout dish. We had another wine from Spain Finca Bacara ‘Time Waits for No One’ Monastrell, a lovely fruity red.
As usual, we were too full for much dessert, but we did share a little dolce de prunes, a prune and Disaronno chocolate pot with walnuts that was sublime.
Entering this post into Natalie the Explorer’s coffee share.
You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis. As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days. If you want to get in touch, email me on email@example.com