Emperors Palace in Kempton Park is known as the Palace of Dreams. This is quite apt when walking into the building. The doors are lined with statues of Antony and Cleopatra, the concave ceiling is constructed with stained glass and all the doorways are mantled with golden Greek-style arches. What better place to spend an evening dining on the Ambrosia of the Gods? Platia may not actually serve the Gods, but it certainly evokes that feeling.
Located directly across the largest statue in the building, under the cloudy ceiling, the restaurant looks and feels as if it’s located on Mt. Olympus rather than Kempton Park. Unlike most Greek restaurants, Platia keeps the shades of sky blue and crisp white to a minimum. Instead, the walls are shades of cobalt blue, lined with sea-sand wooden finishes and completed with darkened, large, low-hanging lights.
Diners have the option of inside and outside seating. The inside seating feels more secluded and opulent while the exterior feels more relaxed and casual, yet stylish. The wooden tables are lined with comfortable white stools, one of the very few white touches in the decor. The only thing missing from this island paradise would be the Mediterranean sea. But the nearby fountain at least gives some tranquil nuances of being seaside.
Starters was a tough choice between the Tiropita and Spanokopita, feta and spinach pies, and the Pikilia, pitas with a choice of three dips. Ultimately, the Tiropita and Spanokopita won. The Tiropita is a triangular phyllo pastry parcel filled with feta and herbs. While the Spanokopita, also a phyllo pastry triangle, is stuffed with a creamy spinach filling. Both pies were served with a sweet chilli sauce.
Vegetarian mains was the Haloumi in Pita, which was a flat bread wrapped around huge golden nuggets of haloumi, fresh tomato cubes and slivers of onion, all topped with a rich and creamy tzatziki. The tzatziki was particularly delicious and just finished the wrap beautifully. This was served with some large, perfectly cooked chips in a tasty house-made seasoning.
Choices for the meaty mains were also difficult to make, so the Open Trio Souvlaki Plate made the most sense as it provides a little bit of everything. This huge plate consisted of three Souvlaki (marinated meat skewers), one chicken, lamb and beef. All of which were very flavourful and perfectly cooked. This was served with a side of Greek salad, lettuce, tomato, onions, olives and feta, dressed simply in olive oil and vinegar. Also, on the side were mini pitas and tzatziki as well as a side of chips. This meal certainly allows for a bit of mixing and matching, combining various flavours with others to find your favourite combinations.
As fulling as all this food was, we definitely couldn’t leave without ending things on a sweet note. Again, choosing between the Halva Ice Cream, Rizogalo, Baklava and Loukoumades was an almost impossible. But in the end, we chose the Loukoumades. These are Greek-style doughnuts, drenched in cinnamon syrup and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. This is a must-try for any doughnut or cinnamon lover.
After gorging to the max on delectable Greek cuisine, there is no better way to relax and ease a full tummy than strolling through the Palace, taking in the sights of the store fronts, visitors taking selfies and the painted ceilings that make one think of Michelangelo’s work in the Sistine Chapel. After all, we are in the Palace of Dreams.