Dress up for lunch at Thalassa. We didn’t, and we felt it. Dozens of decked out ladies-who-lunch occupied the alfresco backyard and the air-conditioned interiors. It was too warm to sit outside – so everyone who walked in got the up-and-down.
The Greek restaurant, a recent import from Vagator, has neither the sea views nor the susegad vibe of Goa; it has Khar’s traffic sounds and selfie-taking urbane people instead. But gosh, it’s pretty! And it’s pretty different from the place Mariketty Grana opened 10 years ago on a beach, encouraged by the excitement her rolls and kebabs received at night markets. Thalassa’s Mumbai outpost has cane ceilings and vintage keys on the walls. It invokes Santorini’s bright whites and rich cobalts rather than the cobblestoned labyrinths of Grana’s native Corfu.
The food takes you right back to Vagator. Grana’s interpretation of Hellenic fare is full of flavours that are familiar and fond to us: tomatoes, spice, garlic, lemon, cheese, vegetables, meat. As it is with the prawn saganaki, perfectly cooked plump crustaceans in tomatoes and garlic, with crumbled-over feta, and warm pita on the side.
Tiro-kaf-teri, literally “spicy cheese” is a dip of chillies in crumbled creamed feta. It’s as delicious as it sounds, and an ideal counterpoint to a fruity smoked orange and pomegranate martini.
Food doesn’t get more Greek than lamb moussaka and dolmadakia; both dishes here are exceptional. The rice-stuffed grape leaves are packed with texture and tang. Thalassa’s kalamata olive oil makes its presence felt alongside mint and dill. In the aubergine and ground-meat dish, each layer is high on flavor. The rich, mousse-like bechamel on top is good enough to eat by itself.
Why would you get a burger at a Greek restaurant when there are gyros. (Grana’s menu is otherwise determinedly focused.) We picked chicken wraps, and got strips of meat coated with a fragrant spice mix of thyme, chillies, cumin, coriander and more, surrounded with fries, sliced onions and tomatoes, and lush, tart tzatziki. Our friendly server told us the wraps would be DIY; this worked well because we could each build them to taste.
Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts or “yiaourti me meli” sounds like a dish you could eat at any time instead of only at dessert, and indeed it is. At Thalassa, the yogurt tastes like regular dahi which defeats the purpose. Instead have the mosaiko or “mosaic” balls, spheres of no-bake chocolate cake stippled with biscuits.
Three years ago, when Thalassa popped up briefly at Olive Mahalaxmi, we wondered why Goa has a Greek restaurant and Mumbai doesn’t. We’re glad Grana decided to make things more permanent, even if it means we need to dress up for Khar.
(HT pays for all meals and reviews anonymously)
Where: 21st Street, off Carter Road, next to Cafe Coffee Day and Hotel Shubhangan, Khar (West)
When: Daily noon to 4pm, 6pm to 11.30pm
Cost: Rs 3500 for a meal for two, with a drink each.
Call: +91 9820004018