Uganda being only a short fight’s distance away from Nairobi, is an obvious choice for me when shopping for somewhere to escape the sometimes overwhelming pressures of living in fast paced, expensive and unsafe Nairobi. On one of Kampala’s many rolling hills is an upmarket suburb considered the most expensive real estate in the city, Kololo. Populated by diplomatic missions, international schools and development organisations, the area naturally has a vast number of food businesses to meet demand.
Mythos Greek Taverna & Lounge is one such example. Shrouded by a lush thicket on a quiet residential street, the modest bungalow which houses the restaurant assumes neoclassical and traditional Greek expressions, from the monotone plaster flooring to the high ceilings supported by Roman Doric columns.
The signature colours – blue and white – recur unoppressively across the premises, featuring in tandem on upholstery, signage, murals and menus.
This is a clever adoption of the Greek flag’s colour palette. In keeping with the spirit of Greek interior design and architecture, the spaces open easily from one to another leading from the bar and lounge to the dining area which is set with many tables in comfortable intervals. For those seeking a little more intimacy, screens can be put in place to create private cocoons.
When my friend and I rolled up for dinner without a reservation, the place was not even half occupied so we found a suitable table without any fuss and placed our orders. Almost a half hour after our arrival, we noticed that while even patrons who had arrived after us were being served the complimentary breadbasket, it stayed away from our table as if we had planted anti-wheat campaign flags on it. Only after bringing this to the attention of our waiter did it finally materialise but as the night progressed, he acted in ways that did little to conceal his poor training.
As I’m wont to do at a Greek restaurant, I had ordered a moussaka which I was happy to learn is served in big portions here, with a side of Mediterranean salad.
My happiness however was short-lived; after three spoonsful, there wasn’t a bit that tasted anything like moussaka. It was the most insipid of anything I have had the displeasure of putting in my mouth after tofu, so I called for the chef. Instead, the waiter instead brought out another server who appeared to wield more authority.
When I insisted on speaking to the chef, she called him from a table a few paces away and the Greek gentleman approached us. On voicing my displeasure, he had the nerve to ask me what I expected the meal to taste like, to which I responded,
“Well, at the very least, I expect it to taste like anything.” He then continued to school me about how moussaka should only ever be seasoned with salt and pepper. I was tempted to ask why all his other countrymen have been doing it wrong for so long but chose instead to remind him that even those two were missing and if the eggplant and meat hadn’t been cooked to death, it may have tasted of something.
Exasperated, the chef asked if I wanted it to change my order.
I said yes.
My substitute chicken souvlakia was positively flavourful.
The grilled skewers were served with chips, pita bread, salsa and some delicious homemade tzatziki – and all well worth the amount that was charged. I was happy to have put my foot down, and even happier that the chef –who obviously is not used to criticism – hadn’t dared put up an argument.