|Café By Day – Taverna By Night|
Iliada brings a touch of Greek to Gunnersbury
I’ll have to begin this review by admitting that my colleagues and I thought we were the first to try the new meze bar in Chiswick.
It transpired that our ground-breaking discovery was actually an established café that had very recently splashed out on a new sign.
Still it was clearly money well spent as it caught our attention and tempted us to give it a go for lunch. Which was when we discovered that not only had Iliada been open for a year and three days (precisely), it only operates as a meze bar in the evenings.
Disappointed but undeterred (ie. hungry because we’d walked all the way from the office), we ordered four mini mixed mezes - the only nod to Greek food amongst the omelettes and chips on the day time menu - and one vegetarian mixed mezze all priced at £6.95.
The eclectic meze plates were huge – too large for smaller appetites – and consisted of fried calamari rings, a pile of Greek salad, some taramousalata, houmous and tatziki, grilled haloumi cheese, ‘sausages’ of minced spicy lamb as well as (and this is where the word eclectic really comes in) a couple of breaded scampi and some grilled gammon. It was a bit ‘whatever we can find in the fridge’ but on the whole tasty and worth the £6.95.
The vegetarian option – not on the menu but prepared without any protest - included fried cheesy croquettes, onion rings, tabouleh, and babaganoush as well as the Greek salad. Both variations came with a generous helping of grilled pitta.
To drink we had one beer (the café recently got an alcohol licence hence the change of evening usage), two diet cokes, one bottle of mineral water and a large cappuccino.
To finish we ordered three more coffees from the younger of the two waiters who appeared to have been plucked straight from the epic Iliad itself. One coffee arrived. Ten minutes later, realising the others weren’t on their way, we re-ordered. This time both arrived although not the kind we had asked for. This would of have been annoying if had not been for the young man’s charm and diffident regret when we attempted to point out the error. The language barrier meant he didn’t really understand so, as the coffees were now getting cold, we decided to drink what we had been given.
Lunch for five came to £45.
Coffees aside Iliada is a nice little café which is clearly popular with locals. Service is genuine, warm and friendly and the menu everything you would expect from a greasy spoon (albeit not greasy). The décor is very much that of a straightforward snack bar although I would be keen to see what it’s like in the evening – candlelight can do many splendid things!