Sunday, 19 June 2011

Hard Rock Cafe Athens: Consistent Through Time and Space!

In my last post, I described how an unexpected phone call led me and a couple of my friends on a mini bar crawl in the centre of Athens. What I left out from my story was a little part in the beggining where I layed down some ground rules to our outing, and a little part towards the end, where those ground rules went gloriously down the drain!

The rules where simple:

1) We would't be eating
2) We would not be eating
3) We would NOT be eating

I'd already had five stuffed tomatoes and three stuffed green peppers, and let's face it, the summer is here and I do plan on making my share of visits to the various beaches in Greece without being harassed by members of the WWF wearing 'Save the Whales' t-shirts!

Now knowing my friend, and knowing we always end up eating out (the number of places I've gone to with this guy on the way to or from the gym you wouldn't believe!), I told him, "We can go on a wild bender, we can end up on a plane bound to Mexico, Moscow or Shanghai, I don't care, as long as we don't end up stuffing our faces again!". "Ofcourse", he said, "I just called you so we could have a quiet civilised drink."...

Legendary 10oz Burger

Yea... this would be the 'gloriously down the drain' part. You see, I hadn't counted for my friend's bro being with us. This guy is unstoppable! I managed to swerve his attempts to get us to "Indian Kitchen", a very interesting looking new Indian restaurant just off Syntagma square which has yet to be tried. Dodging souvlakia was easy, but when he said he'd been to the Hard Rock Cafe the other day and he thought the burger was actually pretty good; well, that was check mate!

So there we were, at the Hard Rock Cafe, Legendary Burger each and Caesar salad and Chicken Tenders to share. Was the burger all that good? Lets just say I bit the bait and found myself dangling at the end of a fishing line! It was ok.

Caesar Salad

You wouldn't expect that three guys could have a fifteen minute conversation about a salad. But of course my friends and I aren't just any three guys! Should a salad be tossed with its dressing or not? What sparked the conversation off was that the Caesar Salad didn't taste overdressed, but it just felt heavy, and the salad leaves were just stuck to each other like... well... nothing particularly appealing! We concluded that when dealing with light dressings such as vinaigrettes, then these should be tossed with the salad. However, when dealing with heavy creamy dressings, then the salad should be tossed with no more than half the dressing and the rest should be on top of the salad.

Tupelo Chicken Tenders

Tender, juicy, spicy. Not bad at all!

The first HRC I went to was in Manchester while I was a student. That was more than ten years ago. Since then I've been to the HRC in Barcelona, Berlin, and Athens, and it is and has been a consistent experience through time and location.

Contrast this with TGI Fridays. I can still remember when the first one opened in Kefalari over ten years ago. Then, it was like nothing else. I can remember going there with friends, girlfriends and family. Now? "It's not you, it's me. I've changed. I want something different. I still want to be friends". If only this was the case. But it's not. First I got served the Jack Daniels Chicken Strips in an elongated rectangular place - as if I was having Gyoza in a posh Japanese Restaurant. An attempt to excuse the steep prices, to hide the low quality, or to blend in with the other restaurants in the area? Then I got served a Burger in a small plate: it made sense given there were hardly any chips to go with it. I wonder why they even bother asking how I want my meat cooked if it's going to be cooked to a crisp every time. And then being charged double for a margarita because we didn't want ice in it. Hello! Smaller glass!

So if you're in the centre and fancy that kind of food, make your way to the HRC and don't look back!

View Hard Rock Cafe Athens in a larger map

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