As far as we’re concerned, as soon as January packs its bags and we’re into gentler* February, it is no longer winter. No, it’s actually ‘pre-spring’, which has a much nicer ring to it as it conjures up images of daffodils ready to burst through the ground and lambs about to be born.
So to celebrate pre-spring (the more we keep saying it, the more it might become an actual thing), this 5pm writer headed over to Greek-Cypriot mezze restaurant Halloumi to try its new menu, which promised a Mediterranean take on the coming season.
Based on Hope Street, Halloumi is a bright and buzzing Greek dining spot. The new spring menu has been crafted by Chef Andreas, whose philosophy is ‘big flavours, small plates’. His latest mezze (Greek tapas) selection is a modern take on classic Athenian flavours.
An explosion of flavours
The Spring Showcase selection was kicked off with a tasting of Llopart Rosé Brut Cava from Spain. Chosen to complement the new menu, it is a 100% organic sparkling rosé with a strong burst of forest fruit flavours — in other words, a perfect spring drink.
Next up were the sharing dishes, including a French-cut roasted chicken breast in a mushroom, Metaxa brandy & red wine sauce, and a goat’s cheese tart with red onion chutney. From the sea was a light and fiery dressed crab salad with avocado, chilli and spring onion, and a tender swordfish steak with cherry tomatoes and speciality extra virgin Greek olive oil.
Veggie-friendly treats included crumbly feta and spinach croquettes, and the restaurant’s infamous Halloumi fries with an added seasonal twist of cool yoghurt, pomegranate, chopped mint and smoked paprika. All were rounded off by chocolate brownies rich enough to feel satisfying, but featherlight enough to evaporate in the mouth. Oh yes.
According to Lapreet Atwal, Halloumi’s general manager: ‘Our new dishes capture the essence of the Mediterranean spirit and culture – they’re fresh, vibrant and big on flavour.’ We couldn’t agree more. Bursting with zest and piquancy, and hitting every corner of the flavour compass, this menu selection put paid to the stereotype that Meditteranean food is low-key. In fact, not only did it put paid to this, it slammed the coffin lid shut on it for good before merrily dancing the sirtaki on its grave.
And let’s not forget the spring cocktails (as if we could). First up was Halloumi’s spring signature drink, Hymettus, a creamy, Hendrick’s-based concoction topped with sweet edible flowers — imagine the refreshment a fallen-to-earth Aphrodite might serve you and you get the picture. Next was Lover’s Delight, a layered creation of Vanilla Stoli, Amaretto and white chocolate served in a coffee cup. This was kind of treacherous as you felt like you were sipping a dessert coffee, rather than a cocktail with a pretty strong punch of alcohol. Not that anyone was complaining.
Cocktails and mezze polished off, it was time to wave goodbye to Halloumi, which has certainly given Glasgow diners one more reason to feel excited about spring (beyond Thorntons eggs and Easter bunnies).
Sample Halloumi’s new spring sharing menu for yourself by booking one of our 5pm dining deals.