25 June, 2009

Hell's Kitchen near Kotzia Square, Athens

Visited Hell's Kitchen near Kotzia Square in a weekday afternoon for a quick lunch.



I read recommendations of this place on various websites; they say that the young owners of Hell's Kitchen passed their student years in New York and are trying to recreate the food and ambiance they enjoyed in Big Apple, and they serve non-Greek food for an affordable price. That was what I knew before I actually paid a visit.

From outside, it does not look particularly attractive. It is a hip place, but is more bohemian than stylish.




There are not so many tables inside, maybe around 10, but there are a dozen of bar stools and extra tables on the first floor, not to mention many tables outside. When I entered at around 2 o'clock, only 4 or 5 tables were occupied, but later more people arrived and the tables inside were almost all taken. They were people for lunch, and not for drink; evidently their clientel - mainly from 25 to 40 year-old age group - have their lunch pretty late. Their was no air-conditionning and it could get quite hot inside.

While the outdoor tables were not as popular as the indoor ones; this is quite unusual for Greece where people do their best to eat al fresco during the summer. It tells us something about how nice (?) was the environment of this neighbourhood; it is not far from the infamous Omonia Square.




To be honest with you, I did not look closely into the menu, as I picked up one of daily specials told by waitress. The little I read was the pasta section; they are around from 8 and 12 euros; not particularly cheap, if not expensive either.

I ordered marinated and grilled chicken breast, which was served with tomato rice. As you see, it was nicely presented; nice presentation of food is still a rare thing in Greek restaurants of the middle and lower ranges. It is something distinguishes Hell's Kitchen from the other restaurants of the same price range.




But on the taste front, it did not go well; it wasn't bad, but not good either. Chicken breast was still brand regardless of marinating and needed extra salt (which was fortunately provided on the table). I was wondering if I could cook a better chicken grill and concluded I could. Tomato rice was better and more interesting.

And what struck me was the lack of vegetable; if the waitress warned me it does not have any veggie on the side, she could have sold more.

I did not order any drink and paid 10 euros for the main dish. Again, it is not particularly cheap, though not expensive. I would have said reasonable, if the chicken tasted better.

This is not a kind of place where I personally want to return. However, if you do not like Greek food, or you have had enough of Greek food already, Hell's Kitchen offers you something different and gives you a little surprise. And they have a lots of wine and cocktails; if you like these things, you would have enjoyed more than I did (me being no drinker). I would also like to mention that this is a good place to eat alone. In Greek tavernas I sometimes feel that many dishes are designed to be eaten in more than one person. In Hell's Kitchen, the food comes on individual basis and you don't have to feel embarassed in front of 300 or 400 grammes of meat (but I am not saying that the portion is small; on the contrary!)

Hell's Kitchen (Restaurant and Bar)
Kleisthenous 13 (Κλεισθένους 13 )
(Near Kotzia Square)
Athens, Greece
Tel. 210-5241555
http://www.hellskitchen.gr/

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