Agora, Southsea | Restaurant review

In case you hadn’t already noticed Dish Detective has been hankering for a holiday abroad since last year.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 9:16 am
The Agora, Clarendon Road, Southsea.

So while international travel is still somewhat difficult it has become a regular occurrence to seek out some of the most authentic foreign foods in the vicinity.

And perhaps the most successful of these attempts was the most recent venture to Clarendon Road in Southsea.

Among all the other popular restaurants and bars along this street is Agora, which prides itself on its traditional Greek and Turkish fare.

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Some of the dishes so enjoyed by The Dish Detective at the Agora.

Just walking into the restaurant it feels a far cry from the streets of Portsmouth, with colourful tiles and prints adorning the walls and a large functional grill at the back.

On a warm August evening your Dish Detective and a companion are ushered to a cosy table for two in the corner.

Currently each table has a clear plastic sheet to separate it from other tables nearby – a welcome addition in pandemic times.

A friendly waiter brings us our menus and there is definitely no lack of choice.

From cold and hot starters that include some of the staples like hummus, Greek salad and falafel to a vast range of main meals such as meat kebabs and koftes, there must be something for everyone.

This is where it would be incredibly easy to order far too much food – something I fear we manage to still do despite making a conscious effort not to.

We agree to share everything so we can try a few dishes each.

From the starter list we order the ezme salad (£5.20), falafel (£5.30) and imam bayildi (£5.60).

They arrive, beautifully presented with a healthy serving of freshly baked bread from the grill opposite.

The ezme salad consists of very fine diced tomato, onion, garlic, peppers, parsley and olive oil with hot spices. I have never tasted anything like it and it is quite honestly delicious.

It is refreshing while remaining really tasty – and perfectly complements the falafel, which is slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. To our delight it is served with hummus – much nicer than the kind you get in the supermarket – and a small salad.

My favourite of the starters though is the imam bayildi, which is fried aubergine stuffed with onions, mixed peppers, garlic and tomatoes. The tomatoey sauce it comes in is really flavoursome and we polish off most of the bread while mopping up our plates.

As a main we have selected a vegetable moussaka (£14.90), again to share.

By now we are quite full but we still can’t resist this dish which comes served still bubbling in a ceramic pot with rice on the side.

It consists of fried potatoes layered, topped with onions, peppers, mushroom, courgette, tomatoes, and garlic then covered with fried aubergine and melted cheese.

There is no other way to describe it than sublime. We eagerly scrape every last morsel out of the bowl, although we don’t quite manage to finish the bread.

A special mention is definitely needed for the bread, which has a delightful smoky taste on its crust presumably from being cooked on the grill.

The table next to us orders dessert but we really don’t have the stamina to eat any more. Our neighbours confirm though that the traditional baklava (£5.20) is excellent.

After leaving the restaurant we wish we had ordered some for ourselves to go – although this gives us the perfect reason to return which I’m sure we will very soon.

RATINGS

Food: 5

Value: 4

Ambience: 5

Child-friendly: 3

(ratings out of five)

Tel: (023) 9282 2617

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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