Remember holidays in the Greek islands, the slapdash paint jobs, the wonky tiling in bathrooms undertaken by apprentices from the local blind school, the rickety tables and chairs? All forgiven because of the hearty, uncomplicated and tasty food combined with the genuine warm hearted friendliness of your hosts. Echoes of these dreams can be found by entering through the unlikely and unpromising portal of Rozafa restaurant in St Petersgate Stockport. Easily passed by, the small set of stairs opposite a pizza takeaway takes you up to the restaurant where the decor will not initially inspire confidence. But soon after being seated, furnished with a bowl of kalamata olives, a Mythos beer and entertained by Stockport’s very own Groucho Marx masquerading as a Greek waiter you begin to lose sight of the white woodchip and charity shop pictures and catch a faint aroma of thyme on the warm Meltemi as it gently blows up from Hillgate perhaps…
Rozafa’s menu offers a comprehensive range of Greek and Cypriot dishes, with a complete range of meze to start, served individually or as mixed plates. These are followed by a variety of grilled meats or dishes from the oven including staples such as Kleftiko (Robbers lamb, cooked for hours in an oven), Stifado (marinated beef cubes in wine and herbs), Afelia (pork in wine flavoured with coriander) and of course Moussaka. There are fish dishes and chicken together with an excellent vegetarian list including Yemistes (Stuffed Peppers) and Briam (a vegetable stew, not unlike the Mallorquin Tumbet, with courgettes, aubergines, onions, peppers and squash in a tomato sauce) For those who wish to sample a range of Rozafa’s food or would prefer to be guided through the possibilities, the restaurant offers a “Mega Meze” 3 courses of mixed starters, an intermediate course and finally a selection of main courses. These are available in three versions:vegetarian, meat and fish.
We began with a mixed meat meze supplemented by a dish of the Melanzana (aubergine dip) The plate came with generous portions of Tzatziki and Humous, Meat balls in tomato sauce, Dolmades(stuffed vine leaves) a selection of sausages (Lukaniko, the pork one and Pasturma made from beef) marinated in wine and herbs and then charcoal grilled. The plate was finished with a small greek salad, or Horiatiki, in the centre crowned with cubes of feta. A generous portion of Pitta bread , warm from the grill, and the aforementioned aubergine dip and it was more than sufficient for the the three of us.
After a short break and another few minutes of Groucho’s deadpan joke routine, the main courses arrived. Two of us had chosen the Diafora Scaras or mixed grill which comprised a grilled chicken skewer, a minced lamb kebab, more lukaniko and pasturma sausages and two substantial lamb chops. By way of accompaniments, you could choose from roast or chipped potatoes, rice and everyone gets salad. The OH went for the less demanding but equally tasty lamb kebab. The meat from the charcoal grill was excellent,especially the succulent lamb chops which were demolished entirely by myself who is normally a confirmed jack Sprat when confronted with fatty meat. The portions here are substantial and would suit the most ardent trencherman. We drank a bottle of Makedonikos Red, a fruity unassuming number from Macedonia, and a Keo Beer and the damage was around £70 for three. Rozafa offers an early evening special offer of £10 for two courses of starter and main course before 7pm. If you don’t mind the decor and want some good authentic Greek food in generous quantity then Rozafa is for you!