Wine and Mousaka
30 Haven Green
Ealing W5 2NY
I didn’t really enjoy my years at university, but there was a person who made them go quicker: Simone. Such a hilarious guy! An endless source of anecdotes and picaresque adventures. Shame we lost touch. But I still have his eye. I even wore it for a while. Creepy? Dark? Weird? Not at all, everyone wears a Nazar in Cyprus! Mine was a bracelet which Simone gave me and other friends, when he got back from his Erasmus…or whatever it was. The Cyprus Tourism Organization and the “creative” Ambassador still make me smile. I learnt a lot about the office he was working for, and the newsletters he wrote, and the weather, but we never talked about food. I never asked. Having been to Greece ages before, I probably assumed the cuisine would be the same: Oktapodi, Souvalki, Yogurt and Honey, Pitta; well you get the picture. Reality is not far from that; whether you go to a Greek-Cypriot restaurant or to a Turkish-Cypriot restaurant. Yes, they do emphasize the difference. No, there’s no Turkish-Turkish restaurant.
Wine & Mousaka, beside being a delicious combination, is a tiny Greek-Cypriot establishment based in Ealing. It isn’t small in a “oh-shit-what a-shack” way, but more a “how-cute-how-sweet” sort.

The owner has a terrific sense of humour and a comforting, fatherly, polite approach that makes you feel part of a Cypriot family dinner. Surprisingly no fish is to be found on the menu, only fried Kalamari or Whitebait and tons of meat! But Tzatiki, Taramasalata and the other old friends are certainly there. Dreaming of fish souvlaki I opted instead for Greek Salad (no need to explain the dish I guess) and Vegetarian Dolmade (just in case: vine leaves stuffed with rice and served with potatoes). They are usually cold and cigar shaped; these, instead, were hot, juicy parcel in a tomato sauce…unexpected, different, nice! Edo had Loukanika (Pork sausage marinated in wine) and Lamb Tava (a sort of lamb stew served with potatoes and rice). We shared a mind blowing Kaddafi (shredded pastry filled with crushed almonds and syrup), he had a not-at-all mind blowing coffee. A bottle of water, one glass of house red. Happily paid the bill, £40 including tip. Left.

Once home I googled Simone and found a lot about him. Still a river of fascinating experiences. I wonder if, for once, it should be me telling him about my little adventure in W5.

  • Food: 3
  • Ambience: 3
  • Service: 3.5
  • Value: 3.5
  • Overall: 3.25
Another really good one! When we walked in in I said: “OK, this is the prettiest we have been to in the whole mission so far”. After consideration it turns out Australia was actually marginally prettier but still this is a little jewellery box of a place, tiny, cute, romantic, looks like a café you could find in the Cotswold. Food is Greek Cypriot which is different from Turkish Cypriot – but obviously only Greek Cyprus is recognised as a nation and is a member of the UN. There are other Greek Cypriot restaurants but this one looked so cute we had to see it. It’s in Ealing, which is farther to drive to than I had thought but still reasonably within reach of the centre.

The waiter was a friendly, smiling, polite, helpful and witty gentleman. “What’s the difference between green salad and Greek salad?” asked a lady at the table next to ours. “One is boring, the other one isn’t!” replied he. Service was very good, very well timed, and professional.

Loukanika. This was a starter consisting of two strips of small sausage with a little salad. It was small and simple so I do not have that much to say, except that the sausage was particularly good and with a unique taste I really liked. It is served with a slice of lemon which goes particularly well with it.

Lamb Tava. This was pieces of lamb, slow cooked with a light tomato juice, served with rice and boiled potatoes. It was very good because the lamb was quite soft, very well cooked and truly melted in your mouth.

Kadeifi. It is a (quote) “finely shreaded [sic] pastry with a centre of crushed almonds and syrup”. It was good! Different from incarnations I have had in Turkey or other places in the Middle East, this one was really soft and warm, incredibly fluffy and not excessively sweet.

We spent £40 with a single glass of wine for me, which was excellent value, considering the quality of the food and that this is the kind of place I would probably consider for a date.

  • Food: 3
  • Ambience: 4
  • Service: 3
  • Value: 4
  • Overall: 3.5