Greek food is known for its rich culinary history and use of quality ingredients. Adding a sparkling blue and white banner to the Tiong Bahru neighborhood is Bakalaki Greek Taverna, a new restaurant serving authentic Greek food. This restaurant is an example on how spaces can be aesthetically designed to cast a lasting first impression. Full credit to the interior designer who has done the contemporary decor of the space. Some of the ideas worth mentioning are the barrels on the wall, zigzag wine bottles display, harbor paintings and the blue sofas that adorn the restaurant. There is a seating area in the verandah which would be ideal for brunch and the interior seating would be good for dinner to best enjoy the ambiance. The service was exemplary! We were given an explanation about the dishes, suggested the recommended items, always had the water or wine glasses refilled on time, and were told upfront about the wait time with respect to some items. Before I proceed to share my experience on the food we ordered, let me tell you right away that this place is a must-visit!
I was really happy to see that Bakalaki had a lot of vegetarian options on their menu. They also have an elaborate drinks menu in which you can check out the Greek wines. They also sell some products in the retail section in case you are looking for their branded Greek olive oil. While we were in the process of placing our order, we were served complimentary bread which was warm and very good, especially those sea-salt flakes that were sprinkled on the top.
There are some dishes that we order by default at a Greek restaurant and one of them is the ‘Pita with Tzatziki’. The refreshing Greek yogurt mixed with cucumber, garlic and extra virgin olive oil acted as a classic appetizer. The pita bread was top-notch and the saltiness enhanced the pairing with the Tzatziki.
Do not miss out on trying a cheese dish at a Greek restaurant – either the feta or the halloumi. We ordered the ‘Halloumi’ which was served with lemon and oregano. Grilled to perfection and with the right chewiness, this cheese was satisfying on many levels. But the ingredient that elevated this dish were the cherry tomatoes. Naturally sweet, take a bite of them paired with a small slab of cheese and you will feel an enhanced food experience. Highly recommended and do not miss this if you are a cheese lover.
Pita ($2.90) with Tzatziki ($14.90)
The next dish was recommended by the staff and we were glad that we tried the ‘Tomatokeftedes’ which will surely remind you of a Greek Holiday. These herbed patties were made with Santorini tomatoes which are full of nutrients and have an amazing texture. Even though the patties were charred black on one side, there was no burnt taste experienced while eating the dish. The dish is under the appetizer section but is as filling as an entrée and I would call them as little pillows of delight. Do not miss this dish!
Halloumi at $16.90
The dessert menu was interesting and we tried the authentic Greek dessert called ‘Rizogalo’. This dessert derives its name from the two main ingredients – rice and milk. It had a dense and creamy texture like a rice pudding and was sprinkled with a gentle dose of cinnamon. We wanted something mildly sweet and this served the purpose. It also helped that it was served in jar which made it extremely convenient to eat the dessert.
Tomatokeftedes at $15.90
The simplest of Greek desserts is the ‘Giaourti’ which can be had as a snack at any time of the day. It is basically Greek yogurt served with honey and walnuts and is a simple sweet treat. Since it is made with quality ingredients at Bakalaki with authentic Greek honey, this dish was delicious.
Rizogalo at $11.90
The ‘Greek Frappe’ is the hallmark of coffee culture in Greece and is a cool refresher on a hot day. The foam is quite thick and does not mix completely with pure black coffee. Even if you don’t take sugar normally, you will need to add the sugar syrup that they provide to sip the drink. This is for people who really appreciate the caffeine kick.
Giaourti at $12.90
To be honest, I found it difficult to pick out any flaws with respect to this meal. Some dishes may feel a bit overpriced but considering the quality of ingredients used in the dishes, we found the vegetarian dishes to be worth it. Overall, it has turned out to be my favourite Greek restaurant in Singapore. For their authentic Greek food, use of quality ingredients, lovely ambiance their exemplary service, Bakalaki Greek Taverna is highly recommended for an overall awesome dining experience.
Greek frappé at $4.90
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Greek
|Nearest MRT: Tiong Bahru / Outram Park
|Address: 3 Seng Poh Road, Singapore 168891
|Timings: Mon-Thu: 6pm – midnight ; Fri-Sun: 12pm – 2.30pm , 6pm – 1am
What are the odds that you spot a newly opened food space serving Greek cuisine in a busy mall? I would say, very rare. A weekend outing had me visiting a week old ERGON Singapore in the sprawling Suntec City Mall . ERGON Foods has a global presence and is known for its branded products and deli-style restaurants. The warm-lit cafe with its aesthetically done interior is a welcome sight to sore eyes. There are tall shelves stocked with authentic Greek ingredients that almost seem like an introduction to a Greek food library. From marinated olives to feta spreads, from premium olive oil to Greek wines, from oat and barley rusks to bread sticks – there is an extensive variety of products pertaining to Greek cuisine that can be found here. The seating space is spread out well so that you can look at these ingredients as you wait for your order.
The menu was as interesting as the food items and desserts that could be seen on the display counter. Let me add that if you have a sweet tooth, you will love the desserts that this place has to offer. They have launched two menus: One for the brunch and daytime and the other is the dinner menu.
Ergon brunch menu
For us, it is almost mandatory to try a feta cheese dish when we eat Greek food. So we ordered the ‘Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie’ which is a classic combination. The phyllo pastry was perfectly flaky which was great to bite into and the non-soggy spinach cooked just right made it a good dish. The feta cheese balanced the salty component of the dish.
Ergon dinner menu
We also ordered the Koulouri which is Greek street food. The dish was presented as a crisp and chewy sesame bagel served on a bed of Greek yogurt and topped with two eggs. The yogurt seems like an unlikely addition – but it works wonderfully in the dish. The dish has great contrasting textures from the bread, egg and yogurt. There’s supposed to be a spicy oil but the dish isn’t spicy at all. Recommended.
Spinach and feta cheese pie at $9
There are some interesting beverages to be tried out at Ergon. Since I had never tried Greek coffee, I promptly ordered the ‘Freddo Cappuccino’ which falls under the iced coffee category. Its one cool coffee topped off with delicious cream and was visually appealing. Taste-wise, it will remind you of a milkshake and is not rich or heavy. Overall, highly recommended.
Koulouri at $22
In Greek culture, the desserts are as important as the meal. One of the best Greek desserts to try is Bougatsa , also known as the sweet milk cream pie. This dessert was made up of scrumptious pastry and filled with custard and topped off with icing sugar. The dish was served warm and that added to the taste and was very good. Since it was cut into small cubes, it also became very easy to eat with a fork. Forget the calories for a change and try it. Highly recommended.
Freddo cappuccino at $6.5
Baklava is a dessert of the Middle East and Mediterranean, and it has numerous variations depending on the country of origin. The ERGON version was sweet and nutty and the filling had a slightly chilled taste. The phyllo pastry was a bit difficult to cut into and hence would have been better to serve it in small cubes. The portion size is large enough for two people to share and is quite rich.
Sweet milk cream pie at $8.9
They also have a small bites counter which has delectable items in offering. The Chocolate with Tahini roll topped off with white sesame seeds is divine, do try it.
Baklava at $9
If you don’t mind eggs used in desserts or in flour, this place has quite a few vegetarian options. There are also quite a few vegetarian sandwiches on the menu. We’ll definitely be visiting again to try out the dinner menu. The service is quite friendly and the owners also take an effort to mingle with the crowd and get feedback since these are the initial days. The place has promise and we hope that the quality is maintained in the long run. For its authentic Greek cuisine offering, for its lovey ambiance, for its desserts and for its central location, ERGON Singapore is definitely worth a visit.
Ergon small bites counter
| In a Nutshell
|| Deelightful Rating
|Cuisine Type: Greek
|Nearest MRT: Promenade
|Address: Suntec City Mall, 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-365, Singapore 038983
|Timings: Mon-Fri: 8.30am – 10pm ; Sat-Sun: 10am – 10pm
More often than not, I have wished for a quick getaway. By that I mean a vacation-like ambiance, a lazy lunch, something away from the maddening crowd – and a different cuisine. Situated in the Quayside Isle of Sentosa, Mykonos on the Bay provides a perfect combination of sunny weather and exotic waterfront view along with Greek cuisine. Quayside Isle is the new area which has opened up in Sentosa Cove and is filled with restaurants serving different cuisines. This area is situated diagonally opposite to the W hotel in case you need to explain to cab driver. When I reached the place, I noticed that it had an immediate Greek appeal – the white and blue themed cutlery, models of ships and a taverna feel. We opted for outdoor seating as we wanted to enjoy the breeze along with the view. In case if it gets too sunny, the serving staff are very kind in shifting the table to the shaded part of the restaurant.
The menu was extremely interesting with clear description on the offerings and there were quite a few vegetarian options. It was a bit pricey, but that is expected in Sentosa and the location in which the restaurant is situated. We straight away went for the ‘Tzatziki’. It was crunchy and had the right balance of cucumber, Greek yoghurt and olives and we gobbled this up in no time. As a dip base, we ordered the ‘Warm Pita bread basket’ which went very nicely with the Tzatziki. The bread was well seasoned and spiced to act as the hot ingredient for the cool cucumber dip.
Tzatziki at $13.90
Pita bread basket at $4
To beat the humid weather, I decided to go for the ‘Feta cheese and watermelon salad’ which was refreshing to the core. The watermelon had just the right sweet taste and the feta cheese along with mint leaves elevated it to the next level. I enjoyed every bite of this salad and it added to the chilled out mood.
Feta cheese and watermelon salad at $17.90
When a dish is clearly explained on the menu, it becomes easy to order as one can visualize the blending of flavors. Next we went for the ‘Gemista’ which was quite interesting to eat as it had Roma tomatoes stuffed with rice and herbs along with yoghurt mint sauce and fries. I had not tried rice stuffing inside a vegetable before and it’s something I definitely plan to try now!
When the best is saved for the last in the form of desserts, you know it ends up in being a fulfilling meal. We decided to skip the traditional Baklava and ordered the ‘Pagoto Giaoyrti’ which was just awesome. This was a home-made Greek yoghurt ice cream with acacia honey and walnuts along with a sesame crunchy biscuit. This was a befitting end to the meal.
Gemista at $22.90
If you are looking for a getaway, a different cuisine experience, a menu with sufficient vegetarian options, friendly service, an inauguration of your new shades, or a relaxed ambiance for a special occasion then Mykonos on the bay is totally worth a visit. Whether I will go back all the way just for the food I don’t know but it will remain a memorable experience on the whole and I might drop by for the baklava next time I am in Sentosa.
Pagoto Giaoyrti at $7.90
The thought of how to make plain rice interesting and a standalone dish on its own merit has often found space in my culinary thoughts. If a lot of veggies are involved, the dish works brilliantly, but it involves quite a bit of prep time depending upon the cut of each vegetable. This recipe was relatively easier to make and also had an interesting flavor combination tossed in .
Recipe for Cucumber and Corn Rice
Serves : 2-3
- 1 large cucumber peeled, deseeded and cut into medium sized pieces
- 2-3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 tomato cut into medium sized pieces
- 90 gms of Feta cheese
- Mint leaves
- 1.2 cups of rice
- 2 tsp oil
- Black pepper
- Salt to taste
- Vegetable stock [optional]
Cucumber and corn rice
- Add oil to a non-stick pan. Once the oil is warm (not hot) add the onions, garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook on a low flame until soft and transparent
- Add the rice to the pan. Stir and cook till the rice becomes semi-transparent
- Add either vegetable stock or water. For 1 cup of rice, add 2 cups of the liquid. Cover the pan and cook on a low flame
- When the rice is par-cooked, add the cucumber and corn pieces. Taste and adjust the salt. Cover and cook till the rice is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed
- Turn off the flame, wait a few minutes and gently fluff the rice with a fork
- Add in the chopped tomato, feta cheese and freshly crushed black pepper and gently fold in
- Serve hot with a mint leaf garnish (and more feta cheese!)
- Rice is hard to salt correctly once cooked. The cooking liquid should be salted well or the rice and cucumber will be bland
- Also, bear in mind that Feta cheese is quite salty. If you prefer a low-salt dish, reduce the salt in the rice
- Do not overcook the vegetables. The cucumber and tomatoes just need to be just cooked
- If you want a stronger mint taste, add finely chopped mint leaves when you add stock / water to the rice
- For those staying in Singapore, I use the 180 gms of box of Feta cheese from NTUC