Jun 2, 2016 Restaurants
Photos: Ken Downie for Metro
162 Mokoia Rd
Specializing in both tapas and hearty, comforting Greek cuisine, The Mediterranean is a sweet local restaurant in the heart of Birkenhead. Head chef Leo designs the menu with the seasons, drawing on experience at restaurants such as Masu and Orbit to harness the punchy flavours of fresh produce.
We chatted to Leo – who has been cooking since he was 12-years-old – about designing a special tapas menu:
Have you always served tapas-style dishes at Mediterranean?
No, we decided to make this change for a number of reasons, chief of which is wanting to provide our guests with the opportunity to enjoy more of the food and flavours that we love to cook.
Describe your most memorable tapas experience.
One of my most memorable shared dining experiences would have to be at MASU by Nic Watt. As a part of the Team that opened MASU we were encouraged to dine at the restaurant so we could experience what we were offering our guests at the time. This was one of my first experiences dining with a group over shared style plates, the atmosphere, the service, the food and the company all combined to spark my passion for providing a similar dining experience to my guests.
What do you think of when you think of tapas?
Socialising and fun. To help facilitate this my tapas menu is simple, no-frills food showcasing fresh local ingredients and simple cooking techniques but executed perfectly. While the food is small and “fun” it is also full of flavour.
What’s your favourite dish on the menu at the moment and why?
Pork Belly!! Our twice-cooked pork belly is the perfect dish as winter quickly approaches. Braised in a master stock and then glazed with date molasses and fresh orange, it is fast becoming one of our most popular dishes.
The Mediterranean’s Estrella Damm Tapas Trail menu:
- Calamari a la Romana with garlic aioli
- Waikanae crab cake, lemon and herb salad
- Date and orange braised pork belly, crunchy hazelnut and watercress
- ‘Gambas al ajillo’ – classic sautéed garlic and chilli prawns
- Spicy buffalo wings with chimichurri
- ‘Mezze’ house flat bread, hummus, baba ganoush & tzatziki
- Warm olive & feta in garlic oil
Choose any three of the above dishes and enjoy two glasses of Estrella Damm beer for $40. (Offer ends June 22 2016).
About the Estrella Damm Tapas Trail: Metro, in partnership with Estrella Damm, proudly presents a culinary journey across Auckland which pairs flavoursome food from 13 of Auckland’s leading eateries with Estrella Damm’s Mediterranean lager. View participating restaurants here.
This page is sponsored by Estrella Damm.