From Kalamari and Olives to Meat and Bread

Images, from left to right: Nu owner Harry Kambolis holding a plate of his mother Georgia’s famous spanakopita, Nu Greek salad, Nathan Fong with Georgia Kambolis, Nu belly dancer got the party going, sandwich from Meat and Bread

It’s been a diverse week of eating. Last night, Nu launched their Aegean Cusina menu with a reception, followed by a family-style dinner for $39 per person. A lot of people have been telling owner Harry Kambolis that he should open up a Greek restaurant, and he has (finally) obviously agreed. Under the watchful eye of his mother, Georgia, the food that came out of the kitchen—prepared by Kambolis himself, along with EC Rob Clark and his team—was everything that Greek food was missing in this city, until now. A simple Greek salad was properly garnished with thick slices of a mild, sheep’s milk feta. Grilled octopus stuffed with housemade sausage was so tasty that there were mild skirmishes when the platters made their rounds. Lamb meatballs and chicken souvlaki were both drippingly moist, without the grease, while orzo-stuffed peppers were perfectly cooked—crisp on the outside, with the fragrant tomato-stained orzo on the inside. The roast lamb was served in thick, juicy cuts, drizzled with a red wine reduction and sided with tomato-braised chickpeas. Deep-fried honey donuts and a classic baklava finished things off. The menu prices are very reasonable, and the chairs are now a lot more comfortable. I don’t need to be from Delphi to predict very good things for this latest restaurant re-boot.

Earlier in the week, I enjoyed food of a simpler sort—to wit, a sandwich. But judge not, and all that jazz…this was not just any sandwich. Picture a bun from the ciabatta family, with a slightly chewy crust that still allows for a clean bite, and an airy interior. Now picture some housemade porcetta being sliced in thick chunks to order and placed over the bun, along with a tangy, fresh pesto. Meat and Bread in Gastown is the latest in a series of diners and cafes that have been offering fine comfort food at resoundingly good prices ($7 range per sandwich). This sandwich shop offers varieties like pulled pork or beef brisket with horseradish, celeriac and apple remoulade (today’s special, in fact). All are made from scratch in-house, along with savoury white bean and lamb soups, and a truly luscious maple bacon ice cream sandwich. Dining on the down-low is getting’ good.

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