Mythos in Joburg's Bedford Centre - reviewed
George Kutra established Mythos in 2006 after sighting a gap in the Johannesburg market for contemporary, Greek cuisine. Over the past 10 years Mythos has grown to encompass 10 restaurants throughout Gauteng and has become renowned for its authentic Greek flair, with George’s mother Irene still governing the kitchen as head chef, a position she’s held since the franchise’s inception.
(George’s mother Irene, head chef)
Mythos' flagship store is in the Bedford Centre; it’s a mammoth restaurant with 4 large seating areas that somehow manage to flow elegantly from indoors to outdoors. Whilst it is part of a franchise, it doesn’t have that copy-paste feel: there’s lovely attention to detail in terms of the sophisticated décor, chic crockery and friendly service.
Speaking of which, on arrival you’re sure to get a warm welcome from either a waiter or one of the managers and will be seated in no time. We chose to sit in the middle section adjoining the open courtyard; it’s bright and vibrant with blue and white dominating for obvious reasons. The menu is all-encompassing without feeling too vast; there’s a good balance between easy-eating, contemporary ideas and more authentic, traditional dishes; salads, dips, meze, yiro, conventional baked dishes as well as poultry, meat and fish mains. There are a few not-so-Greek additions like the prawn linguine, beetroot and feta salad and croquettes, but for the most part it’s very authentic.
We ordered a selection of mezze: sardines, pickled baby octopus, pita breads, tzatziki, chicken souvlaki, falafel, keftethes (balls of baby marrow and cheese that are deep fried), loukaniko (Greek sausage) and a halloumi salad. We were cautioned that the pickled octopus and the loukaniko were dishes with an acquired taste, but we did want to try something a little different.
The salad was simple and good; perfectly textured holloumi on top of a basic Greek salad with avocado. The falafel were rich, but slightly too dense for my liking. The keftethes were delicious, the sardines were outstanding and the chicken souvlaki was tasty, but not overly exciting. The Greek sausages had a wonderfully robust flavour because of the use of pork, lamb and strong spices in the mixture - we thought they were great, a fantastic choice for those wanting something out of the ordinary. The pickled baby octopus, marinated in a sharp vinaigrette, is known for having a slightly chewy texture (which is perfectly normal) and we thought it was perfectly prepared.
For dessert there’s an array of delightfully nutty and spiced treats including baklava, kataifi, frozen Greek yoghurt and a cinnamon rice pudding. We opted for the baklava which was syrupy, moist and sickly sweet in all the right ways.
To drink we ordered an Aperol spritz – a great cocktail if you’re looking for something light and refreshing and a glass of Iona Sophie rose. The wine menu is simple and to the point and the cocktail menu is dominated by sweeter varieties. Nice touches include serving all their ‘wines by the glass’ in a carafe, so you don’t have to deal with a glass of wine that’s brimming at the edges and, if you order ice on the side, it is served in a beautiful, glass, ice bucket.
All in all it’s a great dining experience with efficient service from well-trained staff. The food is flavoursome and consistent and whilst it can end up being on the expensive side to go the meze route, the stand-alone dishes on offer are very affordable and generous.
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