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Souvlaki Turns Out To Be A BIG Disappointment

Author: Anonym/Sunday, December 19, 2010/Categories: Food & Restaurant Reviews

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The ability to find great food and have a great dining experience in Bangkok is almost limitless for those who are looking for it. Unfortunately, Souvlaki Greek Grill is not one of those places. Located on Silom Soi 4, just a few minutes walk from the Sala Daeng BTS & Silom MRT stations, Souvlaki Greek Grill is a perfect storm of what NOT to do if you want to attract customers and stay in business in a competitive market. This is very unfortunate because Souvlaki has been a mainstay eatery in Bangkok for quite sometime now, but it has recently come under new management which may ultimately lead to its down fall.

The Venue

The restaurant itself is a bit of a cliché and appears to have been overtly neglected. Upon entering, the first impression one gets is that it is either closed or no longer in business. Souvlaki Greek Grill is a 4 story restaurant with an open kitchen and very limited seating on the first level. They also have no air conditioned dining on the first 2 levels which seems bizarre given the temperatures in Bangkok. There is limited air conditioned dining on the 3rd level, but getting the staff to turn on the air and let you sit upstairs can be like pulling teeth. The entire restaurant is decorated with coats of chipping white paint accented by aqua blue decorations. It’s unknown if the chipping paint is meant to be a decorative aesthetic, but the overall feel is more like that of a stereotype and lacks the authenticity of the real thing. The restroom is inconveniently located on the 4th floor of the restaurant and it was shocking to discover the smell of urine permeating from the bathroom at only 1130 am in the morning. It was so strong and off putting that it was enough to discourage use of the facilities all together. Not even the cheerful blue & white checkered table cloths could bring any warmth to the place, as they were badly stained in places. The seat cushions were also thin, stained and uncomfortable. The most outrageous sign of obvious neglect was the balcony on the 3rd floor just off the dining room which gave a stunning view of several long dead potted plants, which felt a bit like a metaphor for the restaurant itself.

The Staff

The staff at Souvlaki Greek Grill was more than just incompetent, they were bordering on downright rude. Despite the fact that it was more than 32 degrees Celsius, several customers and myself were told that they did not open the upstairs dining area until after 500pm and that we should just sit down and eat outside. It was not until customers threatened to leave that the staff reluctantly opened up the 3rd floor for air conditioned dining. It took almost 20 minutes to finally get seated and that is when the REAL waiting began. Upon being seated the waitress took orders and then did a disappearing act for the remainder of the meal. If anything additional was needed, it required a trek downstairs to find the waitress. With only three customers in the entire restaurant it took almost 45 minutes for the appetizer to be served. After another 20 minutes of waiting for the main course, another trek downstairs was required only to discover that the chef “forgot” to prepare it. By this time, I’d had enough and requested the item “to go”.

The Food

The food at Souvlaki Greek Grill was mostly "hit and miss". Recommended dishes are Spanakopita - Spinach Pie with Feta Cheese (145Baht) which is deep fried and crispy on the outside with a nice mouthful of flavorful veggies and cheese inside. The Lamb Dolmades (185Baht) are rice and lamb wrapped in grape leaves and they are served with a refreshing lemon sauce that delivered a nice contrast of acid to the dish. Souvlaki Greek Grill also had an impressive array of boldly flavored dips that were well matched with the soft, chewy and tasty Pita Bread (35Baht). Favorite dips are the delicate and nicely balanced Melitzanosalta-Eggplant Dip (130Baht), the delightfully spicy Tirokafteri Dip (130Baht) made from red chilies, garlic, feta cheese, and olive oil, and the Taramosalata Dip (190Baht) which is made from imported cod roe, potato, olive oil and lemon juice. All of these dips were creamy and has unique flavors that were thoroughly enjoyable. Souvlaki Greek Grill also makes a pretty good basic Hummus (130baht), but the full size portions of all the dips are a little small for sharing as they can easily be gobbled up by one person and still leave you hungry. The Greek Salad (105Baht-190Baht) was acceptable as well, although it was perhaps a bit under seasoned.

The Beef Meatballs (145Baht) were more filler than meat, and were pretty dry. The Lamb Gyros (140Baht) were also a disappointment as the meat inside was not what is expected of a Greek restaurant. The restaurant itself lacks the famous and traditional vertical gyros broiler that allows the meat to stay juicy, but get crispy on the outside. The meat inside the gyro was sub-par and there are several Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants in Bangkok that make much better sandwiches of this style. Although there were many other grilled and vegetarian items on the menu, the inferior quality of the gyro, which should be any Greek restaurant’s signature dish, did not leave one with the impression that these other items would be top notch if the iconic gyro was so poorly executed.

The Verdict

A lot can be forgiven of a restaurant if the food being served is exceptional; yet once again Souvlaki Greek Grill failed to rise to the challenge. Yes, the appetizers and dips are good, but it is not good enough to overcome the shortcoming of the restaurant as a whole. If you’re really hankering for some Greek food from this restaurant than it is recommended that you have your food delivered, as Souvlaki Greek Grill has online home delivery services available via Food by Phone at foodbyphone.com and Chef XP at chefsxp.com. This way you can avoid the pitfalls that one may encounter if you dare to actually venture to the restaurant itself. With so many other great food destinations in Bangkok, Souvlaki Greek Grill is best avoided.

See Souvlaki Restaurant Page

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