I hope you’re paying attention because we’re going to be doing this review in reverse order. Normally I’d tell you about the restaurant, owners and food and then at the very end I’d say for three courses and wine we paid £**.
Instead let’s play a little game...
I tell you that we went to Parthenonas, a taverna-style Greek restaurant on London Road, Sheffield. The two of us had three courses – hot starters of stuffed peppers and stuffed aubergine, main courses of Stifado and vegetable moussaka.
Then two ice creams, a coffee and a tea and two ouzos.
It was peak time - 9pm on a Friday night - and, oh yes, we had the most expensive bottle of wine on the menu.
Hazard a guess at the total bill.
And then I’ll surprise you.
It was £38.50.
That’s right £38.50. OK it was a special deal – but it’s a special deal that anyone can ask for. It’s on the restaurant website – £24 for two people for any starter and main course then ice creams, ouzos and coffee. Wine extra.
And if you’re a fan of American net marketplace Groupon, there is an even cheaper deal on there – £18 for two courses plus the trimmings for two people. Although you will be plagued with Groupon emails until the end of time...
And, forget the price, this is a very pleasant meal.
We passed a few restaurants on the way there, none of them full, one of them shut. Parthenonas was full. Good job we’d booked.
Greek owner Maria Marmaridou came to Sheffield to study at Hallam University 15 years ago and, as so many students do, liked the city so much she stayed.
She still has a taverna in Greece too, which her mother Aravela runs.
We arrived at the restaurant to two plus points – a big smile from Greek waitress Gioninta and a jug of water and glasses brought to the table without us having to ask for it.
My wife Alison’s starter of stuffed peppers turned out to be two roasted red peppers stuffed with feta cheese served on flat bread with a salad garnish.
My starter of stuffed aubergine featured a big chunk of feta, a tomato sauce, a sprinkle of parsley and a salad garnish.
Both were splendid for a menu price of £4.50 each.
Alison pronounced her main course of vegetable moussaka (£8) “a bit too potatoey” after a few mouthfuls and then proceeded to clear her plate. It came with a bowl of heavy-on-the-lettuce salad.
My Stifado (£10) was the hit of the meal. Big chunks of slow-cooked beef which fell apart under the fork, served in a red wine tomato sauce with shallots, roast potatoes and a few veg.
This is not just Greek-style cooking. So many things these days claim to be Greek-style – yoghurt and feta to name two. This is real Greek cooking from chef Janis Lazaridous.
We went for a bottle of white Macedonicas (£14.50) – a refreshing medium wine – but I would have preferred the bottle to be opened at the table.
Then two more plus points – our water jug was topped up unasked and we were given the choice of desserts straight away or waiting for a few minutes, which we did.
Two box-standard ice creams - two scoops of vanilla and one of chocolate with a squeeze of chocolate sauce – and then on to tea and coffee and two shots of ouzo in colourful glasses.
And remember all this for two people came to a grand total of £38.50.
No, I don’t know how they do it either.
* Parthenonas, 290-292 London Road, Sheffield S2 4NJ. Tel: 0114 2585050. Open seven days, 6-11pm.
Star rating out of five:
Three more to choose from -
* Dimitri’s Greek Tavern, Abbeydale Road Alyssum Cafe Bistro, Crookesmoor The Greedy Greek Deli, Sharrow Vale Road