On Saturday, some of my friends and I went to The Fat Fig, a Greek restaurant in Southampton. I’d noticed it during a walk to check out a new ice cream parlour called Tooti’s and after researching it online, I found mostly glowing reviews. They offer an option on their menu called the ‘Fat Fig Meze Banquet’, which is decribed as ‘a feast, comprising of all dips, starters, a seafood course, finished with a meat platter’, priced at £18.95 per person. That seemed pretty good to me, so I booked the table and along we went! Inside, the restaurant’s decor is minimal, and the chairs and tables are canteen style – but the food, I assure you, is fantastic. Here’s what we had!
We started with some amazing houmous, tzatziki with fat chunks of cucumber and laced with mint, taramasalata, skorthalia – cold mashed potato with garlic, olive oil and lemon juice, olives, and tabouleh – a zesty, juicy salad made of bulgar wheat, tomatoes and parsley, all accompanied by fluffy hot pitta bread.
Following that was haloumi and lounza, a grilled, supersalty cheese with a rubbery texture (actually, incredibly delicious despite it sounding like polystyrene) and griddled pork loin that tasted like smoked ham.
Then we had falafels – these, as I assume, most of the dishes, were homemade – piping hot and crispy with a spicy parsley and onion studded chickpea mash inside, accompanied by what I think was a tahini dip.
Following that came dolmathes and melinzanes together:
The dolmathes were vine leaves stuffed with rice, pork, herbs and spices, and topped with a fresh tomato sauce.
The melinzanes were possibly my favourite part of the meal, fried, smokey aubergine medallions topped with tomatoes, with a soft, rich interior surrounded by a crispy outer skin. I have a weakness for aubergine dishes!
Then came the chicken liver – cooked in onions with lemon and parsley. I did try this, and it was tasty, but unfortunately the smell reminded me too much of the food we gave our dogs when I was a kid, so I squeamishly skipped this one!
That was the starters dealt with, so then we moved onto the fish course. First up was a plate of hot calamari:
Then some fat king prawns covered with garlic butter, olive oil and parsley:
And finally maritha, breaded, deep fried white bait:
I’d never had white bait before, so I tried it out – it was incredibly delicious, although I do admit I removed the heads and scraped out the insides, which is not really proper white bait etiquette!
The second to last course was called Greek Village Salad – a classic Greek salad with the inclusion of iceberg lettuce. I’d never had it with lettuce before, and it had been wilted in the dressing which actually gave it an amazing texture and bags of flavour:
The chunks of Feta were generous, flaky and delicious, as was the dressing and the oregano sprinkled on the top.
The final course was souvlakia, meat skewers:
We had pork, chicken and sheftalies, homemade pork sausage. Honestly, the pork was slightly overcooked, but by this point we were pretty full and past caring!
The entire meal took around an hour and a half to eat, and we enjoyed everything with the exception of the chicken liver. Considering the price of most main courses at the restaurant is £10, our feast was very reasonably priced and I would love to go again some day! I highly recommend this for a special occasion if you’re on a budget and don’t want to go to a super fancy place – it has a sense of celebration and will certainly get you talking over the table!
Visit the Fat Fig’s website here, or call them on 02380 21 21 11. They are located at 5 Bedford Place, Southampton, SO15 2DB.
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