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Rozafa, Greek Restaurant, review

Jonathan Schofield reminisces, goes on with himself but enjoys the food

Written by . Published on May 24th 2011.


Rozafa, Greek Restaurant, review

Last year I went to a family wedding in the Greek part of Cyprus. The occasion was wonderful, but the town of Protaras that hosted it would have made Hulme in the nineties look picturesque. Perhaps even dainty.

The halibut was coated with a lush, rich, delicious mix of olive oil and lemon juice given an extra kick with lashings of garlic butter. The fish flaked beautifully, the strength in texture and flavour of the halibut revealed.

Protaras is a festival of concrete throwing the 47° temperature back at throngs of pasty panting Northern Europeans. There were three things to do, mess on the beach, get drunk or sweat, or all three together. There was no theatre, concert hall, library, museum, castle, ancient monument, funpark or even, after an extensive search, a single good restaurant.

Even in the not-so-good restaurants the staff running them were mostly in a mood and mostly from Poland, Russia and other Eastern European nations. The bad tempers may have been due to the heat, which even the locals said was exceptional, or down to the dizzy Brits, Dutch, Germans and Scandis wandering in after seven hours of slow but steady drinking.

Most of the ‘Greek’ restaurants were in the national colours of pale blue and white, as though the town were one big tribute to Manchester City.

Greek 010.JPGRozafa, on Princess Street is blue and white and Greek as well. This placed it on Monday's parade route for the City team after their FA Cup success. City fans lining the route took pictures of the staff and their convenient colouring during the event: Rozafa should have made a special Balotelli moussaka, a dish that blew hot and cold and tasted daft yet was massively expensive.

Unlike the Protaras restaurants, the staff on our Rozafa visit seemed Greek, or at least did a convincing accent. They were exceptionally friendly and smiled a lot as well. It's not too much to ask.

The restaurant opened first in Stockport before opening a second in Manchester five weeks ago. The website still refers to the original place. It describes the venue as ‘a light, easy going atmosphere, were you can relax with friedns and family’.

And maybe give some lessons in English to their copywriters.

The Manchester site has previously been Brasserie St Pierre and Crisp. It's always been bus bothered and bewildered. The double-deckers spew exhaust on the narrow section of Princess Street outside as though engaged in the World Exhaust Spewing Championships. This is a shame as it means you can’t see our lovely Town Hall opposite for the fug.

Anybody over forty years of age who eats out a lot might remember the splendour of Brassiere St Pierre and its Frenchified ostentation. Rozafa forgets the fancy and is too bright and too white. The owners need to tone it down, do some colour blocking (click here), turn down the lamps at night, make the place more intimate.

The food, as with the service, is enjoyable. It has no pretension, no artifice, it is what it is. It’s great for a fairly cheap chow-down pre-show or later when you realise you’ve not eaten since breakfast.

Greek 016.JPGA starter of whitebait was lovely. Whitebait are ridiculous, another one of the beasts you eat entire, like snails, oysters and chocolate mice. I loved these examples, cooked so the fish, while crisp on the outside still carried a gentle interior softness, and weren't burnt to a frazzle as is so often the case. I could have eaten two portions. Three.

What I didn’t need with the whitebait was so much of the salad and its dubious cream. The Mediterranean thing of getting a lettuce and cutting it up and then adding cold tomatoes and onions only really works on an outdoor terrace over the azure middle sea. A glutinous salad cream is never needed, apart from maybe when grouting the patio of an outdoor terrace over the azure middle sea.

Greek 029.JPGA main of halibut (£12.50) came with saffron rice and was another simple gem. The halibut was coated with a lush, rich, delicious mix of olive oil and lemon juice given an extra kick with lashings of garlic butter. The fish flaked beautifully, the strength in texture and flavour of the halibut revealed without turning it into cotton wool mush. The rice was perfectly cooked, enrichened with the saffron. All round a stonkingly simple and effectively lovely dish.

An easy-going but cleverly constructed salsa dip and pitta starter (£3.80) had been appreciated by my dining companion. A main of king prawns (£15) in their shells coated again in garlic butter and with rice was another well-done offering. It was amusing to see the amount of food my friend got round her face while savaging the prawns. It was sort of primal, back to the cavewoman. Not bad. 

A writing colleague in this city tells me the steak souvlaki (£15), kebabs, and the 'giant beans' (£9) with dill, celery, feta cheese and tomata salsa are good as well. "I'll be back," he stated like a Californian ex-Governor to his lady friends.

Greek 033.JPGI recommend washing the food down with a refreshing, low in strength, Mythos beer or two.

Rozafa is an appealing restaurant, a pleasant place to while away an hour or two, with very honest and tasty food - well done to the chef Peter Velay. The staff like to make 'friedns' with you and passing City fans smile as they stroll by. All the place needs to do is cheer up the interior a little.

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty for the restaurant.

 

Rating: 12.5/20

7/10 food

3.5/ 5 service

2/5 ambience

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

Rozafa

63 Princess Street

City

M2 4EQ

0161 236 6389

Open 7 days a week, 11am-midnight. Live music on Friday and Saturday.  Before 6.30pm everyday 2 courses £11, all mains £7.50.

 

 

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34 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

LouMay 24th 2011.

'Brassiere St Pierre'?? Hmm, it might not just be Rozafa that need copywriters!

Hero
RevaulxMay 24th 2011.

Frenchified ostentation aside, the Brassiere was bloody good, and has been sorely missed by its dozen or so former customers.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Eva SJune 5th 2011.

HOW ARE YOU A HERO

Full BobMay 24th 2011.

Schofield: "are all three together."

Rozafa: "And maybe give some lessons in English to their copywriters."

Say no more.....

Adam CooksMay 24th 2011.

Check this offer out for Rozafa... 2 courses for £11. (See comment below - JS)

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 24th 2011.

Full Bob, very quick, well done. We've changed it now. Thanks. And what did you think of the review generally, or maybe of Greek food?

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 24th 2011.

Adam, that's cheeky, do you want us to send you the advertising rate card? Anyway we've removed your link.

Gary JamesMay 24th 2011.

It is a sweet little place this with decent grub and nice people. Been a couple of times.

BernieMay 24th 2011.

saw it ;last week after the 10k race
not been yet but we will be giving it atry very soon
so watch this space

Kayleigh BaxterMay 25th 2011.

Where can I get a look at the menu??

PaulMay 25th 2011.

Unforgivable for this restaurant to be open for weeks with no sign of a menu outside. I was looking forward to this opening but the lack of menu tells me they are not bothered about my custom. I find it quite funny to see people eating here with no clue as to what is actually on the menu. If any restaurant in Manchester can't be bothered to display a menu outside then they don't get my custom.

1 Response: Reply To This...
LeonaJune 5th 2011.

Lee you my got problem with you eye signs because there is a menu outside.... next time when you pass by just look cerful and you will si the menu outside ;) ;)

Hero
Simon ChingMay 26th 2011.

This place is a joke. My partner and I went went there one evening, it wasn't busy probably about half full. We ordered two bottles of water (which came in plastic bottles) and a starter each and main course. After an hour we still hadnt received our starters. When I asked them about it it was clear they had forgotten and not even started. We were beyond hungry at this point so I got up and told them not to bother as we were going elsewhere. They didn't apologise and then even had the cheek to charge us for the two crappy bottles of water we had half drunk whilst waiting for nothing. I didn't even get to try the food in the end but we will never set foot in that place again. How these people have two restaurants amazes me with that level of customer service.

SaffronMay 26th 2011.

@LOU Not just me that spotted "the splendour of Brassiere St Pierre" then! :D

Re: menus - on their website you can see small parts of the menu at a time in flashXML (?) or, if you have Acrobat Reader, the full thing poorly scanned in sideways. I agree that a menu should be available outside the restaurant itself though - it saves a lot of faffing about, especially as my dining party always includes vegetarians.

Eva SMay 31st 2011.

i love this restaurant it is the best restaurant in Manchester the food was delicious i will come back to this restaurant again & recommend people to go to this lovely restaurant i rate 10/10 for the food and service

Andrew CordwellMay 31st 2011.

To date I've been very disappointed with Greek restaurants in the UK..... thankfully this view has changed thanks to Rozafa! The food is to die for... my recommendation is the Prawn Sagnaki. Great atmosphere, friendly and attentive staff, but most important... the food is first class. Will be returning soon. Keep up the good work.

AnonymousJune 1st 2011.

Hmmm... Eva S, I have a suspicion that you are on the staff eh ;-)

Eva SJune 1st 2011.

no Anonymous im only 9 years old how can i be the staff

Eva SJune 2nd 2011.

i think the same with Andrew cordwell

Rialo MartinezJune 5th 2011.

the owners are not greek. all the staff are albanian, all except a waiter & waitress, who are greek. a crappy attempt to simulate athenticity im my opinion.

pretty much all albanians claim to be greek or italian out of shame i think, and it's not the first instance of an albanian establishment trying to appear as something it's not. i know too many albanians unforunately.

too many albanian immigrants in italy and greece. they live there for a couple of generations then claim italian/greek heritage.

albanians do not keep true culture or heritage. they convert to whatever is financially beneficial to them in the current. no morals, culture, heritage, religion just money.

an albanian would claim to be black if they could get paid rapping. believe.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Tanja MorrishJuly 21st 2011.

How can you make such an aggressive statement, clearly you are uneducated and just ignorant.

No one in this restaurant claims to be anything that they are not. If you knew as many albanians as you claim to, then you would be aware that they live by their morals, their culture and are extremely proud of their heritage! I am yet to find an Albanian who is "ashamed" of being Albanian!

Do you go to Pizza hut and complain the staff aren't italian??? Are people not allowed to sell egyptian cottons if they are not egyptian!!??

If you can do something and do it well why would you not do it? It is not "a crappy attempt to simulate athenticity" They provide what is advertised and if you had been there - which I can only assume from your attitude that you haven't - you would know this!

Obviously this type of restaurant is out of your league. Stick to your "subs of the day" and keep your ignorance to yourself!

Check out the food, atmosphere and pleasantness of the Rozafa for yourselves and do not be guided by the uneducated fools of this world!

AnonymousDecember 26th 2011.

VERY TRUE !!!!

AnonymousDecember 26th 2011.

I TOTALLY AGREE WITH RIALO MARTINEZ

mrs 13April 19th 2012.

I totally agree with Tanja, crawl back into your hole rialo you have no idea!!

LeonaJune 5th 2011.

who care who the owners are???? we are writing about the food & services both two are exellent !!!!! I only been twise there and i can't wait to go back again to this great restaurant, i give 9/10 to Rozafa Restaurant :) :)

Stephen BeechJune 6th 2011.

Took my staff there one evening - this place is all about the food... Its perfect and authentic! It was very busy at the time but the service was fine. A new regular for us all.

Stephen HenesyJune 7th 2011.

Been here twice now. For lunch I can highly recommend the vegetable soup (was soup of the day) it had a slight kick to it which I loved. For main I had the chicken kebab which came cooked perfectly with side of rice and salad. Staff were very friendly and service was top notch. This will certainly be a regular place for me.

Paul JennerJune 12th 2011.

We regularly eat at the Stockport resraurant and if the food is the same in the new Manchester location then you are in for a treat ! I will be trying the new venue very shortly.

Chris Moore-ModeJune 14th 2011.

I visited this place a few weeks ago with friends and after being amazed by the authentic Greek performance, was also pretty happy with the food too. The service was fantastic and when i commented on the work rate of one of the waiters, was informed he was actually the owner. Where else do you get this kind of service? Also noted a few Soap Stars in attendance. I would recommend Rozafa to anyone.

Kellie KeithJuly 15th 2011.

I visited for my birthday, there was 15 of us. The food was amazing, never ending, the house wine was really nice, the service was great and the live music was a nice touch. And to top it off the price so unbelievable. I would definitely go again and recommend it to anyone.

BernieAugust 1st 2011.

Been a couple of times now in the afternoon enjoyed it very much
also the waiters were friendly and made you feel welcome
Food very good
will have to try the evening time
Bernie & Alan

June PopeFebruary 26th 2012.

Had a lovely evening last night for my husband's birthday. The food was excellent as was the service, good atmosphere, will certainly be going back....10/10

AnonymousOctober 1st 2012.

If u that tough man tray and say all this bull shit to a Albanian Mr rialo Martinez

Elena AdoroaieApril 2nd 2013.

I went in this restaurant 2 times I did enjoy v v much,the food is absolute superb,the staff very friendly,the music the same,on 26th april I will come back there with some my friends for my birthday I look forward to come back in Rozafa restaurant....

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