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     Volume 4 Issue 37 | March 11, 2005 |

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Eating Out

Casa Greek

The Pride of Mediterranean Cuisine

Imran H. Khan

Some say the Greek were ages ahead of their time, that their thoughts and teachings were the embodiment of civilisation. The Greek mythologies boasted gods like the Titans while history brought out legends like Aristotle and Socrates. But probably the most important aspect behind everything was what fuelled all these great myths and minds -- the heavenly Greek cuisine.

"In life it's not a matter of how much you know, what's important is how little you allow yourself to forget," (Homero Expósito, 1918-87). And rarely does one forget the saporous texture of a Greek dish. Located on the fourth floor of R.M. Centre (above Agora Super Shop) in between Gulshan 1 and 2, Casa Greek boasts to be the pioneer of the Greek meal here in Bangladesh. As one enters the restaurant, the Greek columns give the place a natural aura. Here one finds the earthy marrying of aroma and flavour, the crispy tang of traditional seasonings and the freshest ingredients. Such is the essence of Greek cuisine.

The two people behind this restaurant are Mashiur Rahman Shimu and Zahidur Rahman -- close friends, partners in business and equally in love with the Greek way of dining. "We both used to work in a Greek Restaurant in Montreal. Shimu, who was a chef there, used to fill in the Saturday night slot catering to more than five hundred people," says Rahman. "We later bought the same franchise." Though the duo wanted to open a Greek restaurant here six years back, the response was not so encouraging. They have finally braved into the market and have gone all the way, having their own Greek haven here in Dhaka. "We feel very close to this place as we have been into the Greek style for a long time now."

Many of the items that are used are brought in from other countries. The feta cheese and olives, both essential ingredients in most of the Greek dishes, are all imported to give that much needed authenticity. Another important item is the iceberg lettuce. "We specially grow this vegetable here as it is not available in our local market," says Shimu.

Casa Greek has made sure that you have the complete Greek meal, starting with Tzatziki, a creamy Greek yoghurt served with cucumber, tomatoes and a special garlic mix. Feta Cheese and Olives are regulars on the Greek plate. There is also a tasty assortment of Shrimp Cocktails, with cabbages, mayonnaise and the exquisite sauce giving it 'just the right' shrimp blend. There is also a blend of salads starting with Caesar Salad, made fresh and crispy with the iceberg lettuce. One can also try the Supreme Chicken Salad, a tender charcoal chicken breast, and the Supreme Salmon Salad, charcoal salmon fillet, both served on a bed of Caesar salad. If one is in an experimenting mood, one can always go for the Pikilia Delux, a plate of assorted appetisers including feta cheese, tzatziki, spinach pie, sweet red pepper and a blend of crab salad. There is also Soup of the Day, which the chef conjures up and it is usually a mouth-watering treat. Other vegetarian dishes include Moussaka, a dish that is common to Greek households consisting of eggplant and minced meat and Spankoptia, a special mixture of spinach.

Moving onto more serious fillers, there are many chicken dishes starting with the Chicken Breast, tenderly done with oregano and the Chicken Brochette with sautéed or Butterfly Shrimps is always a superb filler. It has a good blend of items including the famous Greek potatoes and a special sauce that brings out all the flavours in one's mouth. The Souvlaki contains skewers of grilled beef fillet with herbs and comes with Greek potatoes, Greek rice and a salad serving. One can also go for the Shish-Kabab "a la Greek" a renowned dish that is sure to hit the right spot. Another dish that takes the spotlight is the Lamb Chop, charcoal broiled lamb chops served with Caesar salad and potatoes. A lemon on the side serves to bring out the juice in the meat. The Fillet Mignon, served with the special sauce is also quite popular. There is also a host of imported steaks from all over the globe, and their collection of aquatic dishes include the Sea Food Brochette, a succulent sea treat with sea sole scallop and shrimps. The Lobster Thermidor is cooked with Shallots-Béchamel and is garnished in a creamy sauce adding that distinct flavour.

To conclude the meal, there are desserts such as Baklava, a baked mix of pastry, chopped nuts and honey, Cheese Cake, Brownie and Ice-cream. How you add that finishing touch to your day is totally up to you.

A Special Set Lunch Menu offer that starts at Tk.275 up has also been introduced. If you order a main dish, you will get complimentary soup and a tantalising dessert with the meal. "Our guests are trying our food and they are appreciating it," says a proud Zahidur Rahman. "We are not only having new customers everyday but customers who revisit and bring in their friends and family as well."

The restauranteur partners are also engaged in an architecture business. Nextus, an Interior Designing Company, is the result of their hard work and dedication in this field. "The interior decorating at Casa Greek is totally done by us. We had our own people working to recreate the Greek ambiance at Casa Greek," concludes Rahman. Both are family men, having a daughter and son each and they still manage to squeeze in enough time out of their hectic daily life for their family.

David Straul, the High Commissioner of Canada, inaugurated this restaurant on March 7, 2005. Also present on the occasion were Albarto Kaferi, First Counsellor and Delegation of the European Commission and Andrias Will, Executive Chef, Redisun Group of Hotel. The food at Casa Greek, which is open from noon to midnight, is a paean to the uncharted glories of local Greek cuisine. As one follows the Greek journey, food, history and culture seem to be intertwined since time immemorial, making Casa Greek a nirvana for all food-o-holics.


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