Embark an Aegean Adventure on the Singapore River With Zorba the Greek Taverna – Warungku Terkini

Amid the hustle and bustle of Clarke Quay lies Zorba the Greek Taverna, a restaurant which whisks you away to Greek idyll, if just for that couple of hours dining in. From grilled meats and seafood to rich baked dishes and light salads, this al fresco diner brings you wide-ranging, authentic Greek dishes that celebrate a love of gatherings and the joy of sharing meals with friends and family. Add a bit of imagination to these flavours as you lounge by the Singapore river, a couple of drinks in hand, and you could be 9,000km away on the shores of the Aegean, Mediterranean or Ionian sea.

Zorba the Greek Taverna. Photo © 1-GROUP

Refreshing mocktails at Zorba. L: Elysium Cucumber Oregano and R: Aristotle Berry Burst. Photo © Fen Chia

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the super-late riser in me headed to Zorba for brunch. I was already ravenous, a state perfect for a hearty Greek meal with a friend. We seized the opportunity to get the classic Mediterranean favourite Shakshuka (S$18), typically breakfast food and only found in Zorba’s weekend brunch menu (available from 9am to 3pm).

The dish comprises two sous vide eggs in a tomato sauce, peppers, onions, accompanied by a sun-dried tomato chicken sausage (supplement of S$4). The chewy toasted sourdough that came with it was an ideal sponge to soak up the tangy tomato and egg mixture, the sum of it all an irresistibly gooey and savoury jumble. It would have been even better if the eggs were more runny – the messier the merrier!

Shakshuka and sourdough, with an added chicken sausage (+S$4) in the background. Photo © Fen Chia

Next was a dish that I swore I would return for and have all by myself as a single meal. The Htapothi Sti Skhara, or a grilled marinated gilmar octopus (S$38) was grilled to perfection, chewy like octopus should be but still tender and easy to bite through. It’s probably my favourite dish of the day as I have a huge weakness for octopus simply prepared like this, enlivened with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Some may disagree with me, but I tend to believe that octopus lovers are usually squid lovers too and always choose the bigger cephalopod where available in Asia. Nonetheless if you are the camp that prefers the sotong, grilled whole squid (S$24) is also on the menu.

Grilled marinated gilmar octopus. Photo © Fen Chia

The mediterranean cuisines are known for their good blend of surf and turf dishes and Greek cuisine is no exception. The extensive menu at Zorba also features fish, lamb, chicken, pork and beef. There is an impressive range of dishes for vegetarians and kids too.

We tried the chicken souvlaki, juicy chicken kebabs that go perfectly with a squeeze of lemon and are served with pita bread and tzatziki. The herb-based yoghurt dip that adds a pleasant tang and provides a cool contrast against the grilled meat. You could also get a mixed grill platter that comes with different meats.

Chicken Souvlaki. Photo © Fen Chia

As a cheese lover and aficionado of all things creamy, I went for the Beef Moussaka (S$26). Think of it as a Greek variation of lasagne; if you like the latter, this would be your kind of thing. Minced beef is placed between layers of zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and bechamel sauce before being baked, best consumed very hot. This sounds improbably but it is a comfort that Greek dishes could be rich and yet be a healthy and balanced meal at the same time–though best shared, given the richness.

We’ve already had our two variations of bread on the table, which served perfectly to be dunked in yet another delicious gooey Moussaka mess, white and cheesy this time. There are also chicken (S$24) and vegetarian (S$20) versions of moussaka.

Beef Moussaka. Photo © Fen Chia

We rounded off the meal with Galaktobureko, a baked dessert of cinnamon-laced egg custard encased in a light crispy puff pastry that was a velvety and indulgent treat (S$18 for a two-person portion and S$38 for a four-person portion). There were just two of us, but even in a group, we’d recommend going easy on this curtain call of an already hearty meal. The portion was generous.

There is also the option of trying Baklava (S$15) or also adding a greek yoghurt with toasted honey and walnuts (S$10) that could provide that dose of probiotics that balances out the sweet treats.

Galaktoboureko. Photo © Fen Chia

Given the limited number of Greek eateries in Singapore, Zorba is a gem. The Greek table is known for feasts and sharing plates both large in volume and attendance. While you could definitely find something to suit your taste, you would do better to visit in a large group to benefit from the wide variety of dishes available here. After all, the popular Mediterranean tradition of Mezes/Mezedes or spread of shared dishes is a cornerstone of Greek meals, so come very hungry! Be it brunch, lunch or a spirited dinner in the evening over drinks, Zorba is your passport to a quick Hellenic getaway, on the banks of the Singapore River.

Zorba the Greek Taverna
3A River Valley Road,
Block A Clarke Quay, #ORA 1,
Singapore 179020

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