A restaurant is all about managing to combine a number of factors perfectly: the menu, the decoration, the size of the space, prices…everything that brings together a great experience. The key is not doing everything right, but doing everything in the right style and having all elements conveying a similar message. And Mpempa (or Beba), has managed to do just that! If you think it’s the latest must-try arrival of the capital, I agree with you.
Being located in the lately-very-hip street of Pindarou (right off the centre), in a beautiful renovated old house with a relaxing back-garden it makes it very accessible. It’s small in size so it always looks busy but not small enough to prevent one from finding a table. It’s bright as it’s surrounded by windows and cosy in a not-so-obvious way.
The menu is on a single page with tempting Greek dishes and a selection of specials. Apparently the strongest dish are the pies as well as dishes cooked in the “fourni”, a clay oven right there in Mpempa’s kitchen. The Cabbage and carrot salad we tried was a great change to the classic “Choriatiki” with a lightly sour dressing, while the “Graviera” and leek pie was excellent: salty yet light.
The “Gigantes” (giant beans), cooked in the clay oven (“fourni”), served with feta cheese were delicious, very similar to the traditional dish with an extra kick of spices, while the Fried tomato balls were a great crispy nibble to enjoy as a starter.
The Chicken “kontosouvli” was an interesting dish for chicken lovers as it was more flavourful than your average chicken, very aromatic and tender The Lamb in casserole in the daily specials, a winter classic, was indeed an appropriate dish on that cold winter day.
Last but not least, the Walnut pie was excellent and a great closure to this beautiful lunch.
I haven’t been to Mpempa at night but all I can say is that it’s by far the best opening of the year and a must-try. It’s one of those places where you just want to spend your day eating, drinking, laughing…then drinking some more, and eating some more.
Can’t wait for spring at Mpempa’s.