hmm.... I want to be really fair here...so here goes:
Caesar's is indeed beautiful. Of all the roof-terraces we've eaten on in Lindos in our 2 stays, this is the most gorgeous. If you want to propose, or romance, this is the place! It's up-lit in soft greens shining through foliage up against the backdrop of the Acropolis. There's a tiny little pool up there that's also softly lit, blowy sheer curtains and candles and oooo it's so lovely! You look at across the whole of the rest of the town, seeing the twinkly lights all the way up to the main coastal road: are you feeling that ambience?
The staff: much more 'now' than other places we ate in: young (often foreign students), jeans and smart branded t-shirts and smart white pinnies. Well trained and efficient. We met a pretty, buzzy, real front-of-house guy who was very professional and took our orders exceptionally well. No real rapport, no friendly connection, but very very good.
The menu: indeed, a real change from the other restaurants: I'd call it modern greek: it wasn't just running with the usual med/greek trad, it was offering twists on the norm with new combinations and snazzier presentation. A huge wine list, by far the most extensive and priciest I've seen in Lindos (cheapest house wine at 14euros but averaging 30ish) and also offering decent tasting notes and a chance to buy from their exclusive private cellar(average 50 euros). All I wanted was a small mythos to start. I got a large one, unasked, so didn't get chance to sample anything else.
We ordered just hummus and a basket of their own bread as a little munch. I love hummus. We make it at home all the time. All my friends make it. I always order it as a starter. You can't go wrong with hummus and bread. It's safe and tasty and lovely. Even supermarkets make edible hummus. This was not good hummus. I checked with my husband. He said it was not good hummus. I accept a lot of variation of spices, consistency, garlic/lemonyness etc. This was still not good. It was garlicless, spiceless, seasoningless mush with the tiniest hint of lemon. The bread was mostly ok, but the weird little sweetened plait-thing I could have happily lost. Crestfallen: that was expensive for the poorest plate of dip I've ever half-eaten. And everyone else looked so happy when WHOOOOPS!! eyup! what's this??? The buzzy pretty senior waiter and the weird grumpy guy pile into our starter and half remove it and start piling our mains onto the small table!! but I haven't finished being upset with my starter! I wasn't asked if I was ready! (I felt the need to snatch desperately at my departing disappointing bread just cos I'd paid for it!) and so: we were abruptly introduced to our mains.
nb: I saw this happen at 3/4 other tables so maybe this is the current practise? clients were just swept at by the grumpy guy (owner? a bit Lurch-ish, un-uniformed, middle-aged, flat-ish face...) and were presented with whatever their next dish was to be...I saw lots of surprised faces but all feigned pleasant anticipation...
My husband ordered kleftiko, I decided on the most popular of the starters as my main meal. As kleftiko originally came about from poachers needing a way to cook lamb without anyone catching them, it was wrapped up with garlic and potatoes and roots to slow-bake in make-shift underground ovens to prevent smoke and minimise the give-away scents of lovely lambiness.
I guess as a nod to this piece of history, John's lamb came wrapped in a large piece of baking paper with a strip of kitchen foil wrapped round the top. As it obviously hadn't been cooked that way but presented as such purely for the aesthetics we were quite interested. After messily unwrapping it, the rather small portion of rather more wet and saucy, stifado-y kleftiko was declared 'ok, quite pleasant'. It was small.
Sorry to go on, but I'm really trying to be fair. So I got my 2 starters. I had a beautiful plate of 2 feta cheese filo parcels nicely presented with a swirl of something goldish and brownish and a scattering of seeds. The pastry and the cheese were DELIGHTFUL: really lovely texture and a nice sized portion for a starter. But I couldn't eat them. I really couldn't. I NEVER leave food: I'm a Yorkshire lass, work hard fo' mi' brass and I love food. They were drizzled with something rosewatery. With an acrid aftertaste. And the interesting swirl: maybe honey and balsamic? but lacking any oomf. They could have used sesame oil or more balsamic, but this just tasted sweety. AND the seeds tasted slightly stale and would have benefitted from toasting. I'm not TRYING to be picky and I'm certainly not claiming to be a gourmet: we enjoy cooking at home and try loads of flavours, but I really wanted this to be at least good to match the great scenery.
The last part of my order was the baked aubergine. Love aubergine, love anything greeks do to aubergine. Eat aubergine in any form it comes in from any culinary origin. Do all sorts of things to aubergines in my own kitchen (OOOER?) This was truly awful. I was puzzled. HOW could any one, especially when they're obviously trying so hard, render an aubergine inedible? I spent time trying to work out what could have made it that horrid. I think it was boiled or steamed first (hoping to soften it quickly??) then skinned (removing the tasty bit) then dumped over some especially acrid wood smoke (attempt at authenticity), whumped on a plate with a sprinkle of feta and a spike of local herb; voila! Bewildered, I just couldn't eat it. I looked around at all the nice shiny people, the shimmering beauty, the bustling staff and thought GA! is it me? Surely I must be wrong? what can I do? But I really couldn't eat. It was foul. But I didn't want to make a scene. I really do wonder if other people actually love the food so much? or is the officious self-assuredness of the staff preventing people from voicing? or is it the sheer loveliness of the place that makes people think 'hey ho, that was pants but why spoil such a pretty evening, and i'll bet those scary waiters won't listen...'
Maybe I looked a little uncomfy and they were avoiding me, maybe they were actually waiting 'til our plates were empty this time, who knows! A young waitress came over to start clearing and asked if it had been ok. I gently pointed out that I hadn't been able to eat my food because it hadn't tasted nice and she squeaked and said she'd tell someone. Eventually Lurch came over and I thought we might talk but he stared at my uneaten food in horror, looked at me with amazement and disappeared with the plates before I could start talking. Seriously, what an odd guy!
We sat a while longer and I still didn't want to cause a scene but felt I really wanted someone to show a bit of care. We were brought a really cute little bottle of the house-made lemon liqueur - a lovely touch. It was rubbish. We had to leave it. Smiley pretty-boy came over. I quietly said I'd been very disappointed with my food. He asked what I'd ordered. I was told they are the most popular starters and no-one ever complains. I explained what my issues were. He brought me the bill.
In full. We paid. True cowardly brit that I am. Just short of 50 euros. Gutted. Won't be going back. Sad I'll never get to sit in that garden again.
went to the gyros café and had some proper food that tasted like food with staff who made eye-contact.
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