Words by Nancy Duckels
After a recent rewatch of Mamma Mia, I was left pondering not only the slightly questionable singing but also just how inviting that Greek island looked. Unfortunately I’m not able to nip off to Greece so I thought I’d do the next best thing, which is pay a visit to the Adelfia restaurant on Preston Street. Adelfia is a true family Greek restaurant. Brothers Yiannis and Andreas are at the helm of the business, with the former taking charge in the kitchen and the latter leading the way at the front of house. The two grew up with their Greek father’s cooking and wanted to bring a genuine taste of home to the Brighton restaurant scene. The menu is an impressive who’s who of authentic Greek cuisine. All the classics you’d hope to see are here, plus some you may not have heard of. A thorough tour of delicious things. Let’s start at the beginning – the starters. One thing that is very important in any Greek meal is the tzatziki, of course. This was a generous serving of delicious Greek yoghurt with garlic, cucumber, olive oil and vinegar dip, served with delicate slices of pitta bread. The tzatziki was light, fresh and the pitta bread was really tasty. I could have eaten five portions. I had to try the Octopus Sti Skara starter, too. This was grilled octopus served in bite size pieces, seasoned with a red wine vinegar and sprinkled with oregano. Tentacled creatures can sometimes be rubbery in the hands of lesser chefs but no such danger here. This octopus was tender and very delicious. We were sad when the plate was empty. I was cheered up by the Saganaki, though: a Greek kefalotyri cheese, lightly flavoured with herbs and oils and then fried. This was a parcel of delicious cheesy goodness: the outside a crispy envelope, the inside wonderful salty yet light cheese. Proper moreish, lip-smacking food. The final foray in starters was the Olive Pâté Selection, a beautiful plate of green and black olive Pâtés, with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and more of that delicious pitta bread to mop it all up with. Olive oil and balsamic vinegar are good with all things (this is just the law) but they were especially good with the salty, rich olive Pâtés on offer here. Now on to the stars of the show – some main courses. The lovely Andreas made some recommendations here and who was I to ignore his advice? The Kleftico is a firm favourite among Adelfia regulars and when it came it was easy to see why: a lamb shank atop a bed of potatoes and a sauce so light and delicate you could call it a broth. The lamb is slow roasted and so tender that it really did melt in the mouth. The sauce was marvellous: full of flavour but not overwhelming the meaty main attraction. Andreas also recommended the Fish of The Day. On my visit, this was a sea bass served whole (although they will fillet the fish if you prefer) and beautifully grilled, seasoned with lemon, olive oil and oregano, served with homemade chips and a side salad. This was a wonderful demonstration of a (deceptively) simple dish done very well indeed. The delicate sea bass was complimented perfectly by the lemon and herbs. The chips were excellent. The atmosphere at Adelfia was welcoming, relaxed and comfortable. The service was fabulous and I will definitely be back to try more. If you fancy a bit of sunshine on a plate this October, head to Adelfia.