Mazi (London): modern Greek, returnable

(Visited February 2013)

We cross London to Notting Hill on a sunny Sunday lunchtime. We are the first to enter the bright and airy dining room:

interior

interior

We had done our research, and were really looking forward to trying a few dishes but oh, disappointment strikes when we realise that there is only a ‘brunch’ menu, meaning there’s only what they call the ‘jar’ starters (unsurprisingly, these are starters served in a jar) and some other starter-sized dishes, with no proper mains. It would have been nice to be told at the time of booking.

Normally this is exactly the kind of thing that propels us into a rage, but for us is by now age more than rage, and we’re mellowing down. Plus they begin by bringing us a very nice, refreshing basil drink. Ok, we are here now, let’s enjoy this.

To pick us up, it seems the only alternative is to start ordering almost the whole menu, carefully avoiding anything with the remotest of connections with breakfast, which we had had already. So, a raid of the jar section is in order:

A few jars

A few jars

Those above are only a subset of what we got, with a gorgeous Beetroot, goat cheese and grape reduction hidden from view. After the excellent jars the mood definitely turns up, and although the meat pie is somewhat rough and on the wrong side of light

totally rustic!

totally rustic!

the crostini with onion jam are packed full with flavours:

crostini
Portion sizes are substantial, so in the end we were far from starving.

The sun is now smiling on our table, too, so surely we won’t let the desserts pass us unchallenged: the rice pudding with fresh vanilla and lemon is pretty close to what you expect

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

while the Sweet Bougatza with custard, cinnamon and milk chocolate is more of a (definitely pleasant) surprise:

Sweet cinnamon bougatza

Sweet cinnamon bougatza

though admittedley the milk chocolate could have accepted substantially more chocolate.

When we visited the place had been open for only a few weeks, and we were told the brunch idea was an ‘experiment’, and that they will soon offer also the regular menu alongside the brunch one: please check if they’ve kept their word.

Closing an eye on the temperature of the (pre-prepared) cold dishes being too low, the quality was very good, a modern take on many Greek classic, with for example an authentic, not coloured and not oversalted tarama, vibrant aubergine and courgette and broad bean puree’ dishes, and general care in seasoning, as well as an eye for presentation.

Service was good and very kind if not too informative (except by the enthusiastic French co-owner), and the room even if full wasn’t all that noisy (the night before we’d been at Tapas Brindisa and THAT is noisy!). Prices are quite good for London and for the quality.

One feels like going back for the mains, but also fears the jars and starters are in fact the best to be had at Mazi.

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