Yamas – Nottingham – Greek, but not austere

**2015 update – having eaten several meals at Yamas since the original review I am happy to upgrade their score. The food is consistently good, including both vegetarian and meat dishes. I particularly enjoy their Stifado, Orzo and Halloumi dishes.

 

They say first impressions count and if Yamas is one thing, it is welcoming. As we are greeted enthusiastically by the owner of this Greek, family run restaurant I am confident it will be a satisfying evening. Already this makes a pleasant change from the soulless service you get with so many of the chain establishments. The dining area is relatively spartan (pun intended) but nicely decorated with a classic taverna feel. Drinks are averagely priced with reasonable wine options, Mythos being a popular choice on the beer front.

Yamas - Interior

Yamas – Interior

The menu is Meze/Tapas style with most of these small dishes costing between £4-7. We opted for 2 sharing platters; meat and vegetarian which were £25 and £23 respectively. It is worth noting that they have a lunchtime offer of 3 dishes for £6.95 which is a relative bargain in anyone’s book.

It is always worrying when a menu states “you may experience a delay” and Yamas lives up to its billing, with the kitchen keeping us waiting for some time. Pleasingly we were rewarded with two good sized platters served with mixed salad and pitas. Meats were; pork and chicken Souvlakia, Loukanika, Keftethes. The highlight for me was the Loukanika, a smoked sausage which was lightly spiced and big on flavour, a grownup Pepperami. Souvlakia (marinated & barbequed meat) were good but a little overcooked; similarly the Keftethes (meatballs) lacked a real punch of flavour but were enjoyable. The platter was served on a bed of rice which was a little superfluous but did work as a good foil against the meats.

Meat Platter at Yamas

Meat Platter at Yamas

The vegetarian selection had slightly more variety; Aubergines and Courgettes were nicely grilled if not terribly exciting, Halloumi was well fried retaining its texture and managing to avoid greasiness. Spanakopitta (filo parcels with Spinach & Feta) had good pastry and contents to match. A mushroom risotto was a good example with plentiful fungi and the correct, sticky consistency. We also ate an additional calamari we had ordered for some fishy respite which was good and fresh if a little oily. What Yamas does do really well is the little things. Both tzatziki, hoummous were really good examples and an aioli with the calamari had the bold garlic notes you’re looking for. Mixed salad too, something often overlooked, contained ripe, flavourful tomatoes complimented by good dressing and fresh herbs.

Vegetarian Platter at Yamas

Vegetarian Platter at Yamas

As this selection was more than sufficient we passed on dessert, with a bill of around £15 each including drinks this reflects good value. Although if you are ordering individual plates I can see how things would add up. Ultimately whilst the food here is not going to set the world alight, I said I thought I was going to go away satisfied, and I did.

 

Overall 8/10

Food 8/10

Value 8/10 (10 for a great lunch deal of 3 Meze dishes for £6.95)

Service 7/10

Restaurant website: http://www.yamasbar.co.uk/

Opening times: Sun-Tue: 5pm – 10pm     Wed – Sat: 12pm – 10pm

Date of my visit: April 2013