Old folk at lunch

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Jill's birthday



As we usually do, Anne and I recently took Jill to the Kafe Meze in celebration of her 39th birthday.  I am not much of a gentleman but even I do not divulge the actual age of a lady.

As usual, I ordered a dinner of four small courses: Tarama, Haloumi, Keftedes and real Greek salad.  Real Greek salad does not include lettuce.  And it was good as usual. An amusing thing I noted was a warning that the Keftedes are not gluten free. Keftedes are supposed to be Greek meatballs but the ones at the Kafe Meze undoubtedly have a lot of bread in them.  They are very tasty, though.

A topic of interest to us all was weight loss.  As soon as I arrived, Lewis said to me "Your diet's not working".  He was more correct than he knew.  I have in fact lost 11 kilos since I started but my weight has plateaued for a long time at around 112 kilos (17 stone, 8 lb).  As I am 5'10" that is not good.  Hopefully, progress will resume however.  I was 14 stone for many years. Lewis and Jill have both been dieting and Lewis in particular looked very slim.  I think he has almost lost too much weight, in fact.

The proprietor of the restaurant is a real Greek.  I have known a lot of Greeks over the years and, although it is "incorrect" to "stereotype" people these days, I think there are some characteristics which one often finds among Greeks.  In particular, they only work if they have to.  Getting money in some way other than working for it is their ideal.

And the proprietor of the Kafe Meze is pretty typical.  He is a pleasant person and when the place is really busy he will get up and do cooking, waitering, cashiering and anything needed.  But most of the time he sits around having coffee with his mates. In Greece, the "kaffenion' (coffee shop) fills the niche occupied by bars and pubs in the Anglo-Celtic world.  Greek males sit around there having endless debates about politics while somebody else does the work.

And I suspect the proprietor is realistic about Greeks too:  He seems to have no Greek staff.  He always has at least some East Asians waitering.  And the Chinese waitress who looked after our table was very Chinese too.  As I think most Australians know, the best service you get in a restaurant is in a Chinese restaurant.  As well as great cooks, Chinese are great waiters, providing very attentive service. So the Chinese waitress at the Kafe Meze whisked away any dishes we had finished with almost immediately  -- just as she would have done in a Chinese restaurant!

So I think the Kafe Meze is a rare ideal:  Greek food and Chinese service.  Australia has done well to have those two ethnic groups well represented here.

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