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FACT Review: Hellenika merges culinary innovation with Greek traditions

The restaurant brings a slice of Santorini to Khobar’s waterfront.

Khobar boasts a vast selection of fine dining options across the city. And with Em Sherif and Nobu on the way, diners in the Eastern Province have plenty to indulge in. One such spot is Hellenika. Located on the first floor of Al Matal, this restaurant pays homage to the extraordinary flavours of Hellenic cuisine by merging culinary innovation with centuries-old Greek and Cypriot traditions, thereby curating an immersive dining experience that brings the renowned flavours of Greek islands to the heart of the kingdom.

As we entered the restaurant, we requested the staff to let us soak in the beauty of the interior at the entryway, which offered a perfect blend of traditional Greek aesthetics and modern comfort. This large waiting area with a cosy sofa and ceramic decor was definitely Instagram-worthy.

Hellenika Review

For a weekday lunch, Hellenika was buzzing, leaving us just enough space to secure a table on the terrace, which offered a view reminiscent of Santorini. Imitation lemon trees, abundant natural light, bamboo work, mirrors, blue tiles, Greek stone accents, and ceramic pots added to the authentic atmosphere.

We started our culinary journey with mocktails. The Legend of Apollo (SAR 38) came in a ceramic glass resembling a Greek sculpture, with grape, lemon, honey, and a hint of ginger for that spicy kick, providing a refreshing start. Under the waiter’s guidance, we ordered the Hellenika Garden Salad (SAR 85). This dish was a visual delight, resembling a literal garden on a plate with layers of feta cheese, a soil-like mousse, and fresh veggies topped with olive oil. 

Hellenika Review

Our starter spread also included the Pitakia (SAR 45), mini Greek pies filled with spinach and cheese, and we finished off each crumb in no time. We also ordered a serving of Kalamarakia (SAR 65) and while the squid was tender with a crisp exterior, it could have used a touch more seasoning.

For the main course, we decided to skip seafood and settle for Chicken Lemonata (SAR 165), featuring tender baby chicken with a zesty lemon flavour and a tempting truffle sauce. While undeniably enjoyable, the dish was overshadowed by the spectacular Lamb Souvlakia (SAR 145). Two skewers of char-grilled lamb were served on a portable grill to keep the meat warm, accompanied by corn pita bread and a selection of dips — yoghurt, slaw and tomato sauce. While the waiter recommended that the best way to devour this dish was by pulling apart the meat with the corn pita bread and dipping it in the sauces, we found the lamb to be outstanding on its own. And for the sides, we couldn’t resist the homemade Cypriot Fries (SAR 45) seasoned with sea salt, oregano, and a generous dash of truffle cream.

Hellenika Review

Before entering a food coma, we chose the Mastic Forest of Chios (SAR 60) for dessert. This show-stopper came with layers of lemony-chocolate ganache, and passion fruit cream, topped with berries, providing a delightful ending to our meal. We paired this up with a Rooibos Orange tea (SAR 28) as our server suggested it would help us digest the royal meal we had just partaken in.

Hellenika Review

A concept 30 years in the making, Hellenika reimagines Greek cuisine for the 21st century whilst preserving the culinary traditions that the world has come to love. Expect a mesmerising meal that culminates with the smashing of plates for that ultimate Opa moment.

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Shaheera Anwar - Staff Writer
From a beautiful childhood in Riyadh to a calm and collected life in Dubai. When she's not busy penning her latest masterpiece, you can catch Shaheera lounging with her family or binging on the latest movies. And as a millennial, she's got her sights set on TikTok - hoping to go viral someday (fingers crossed).

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