To sum the experience up this is a great evening with a lot of fun pleasant ambience and of course, really interesting well presented and perfectly made molecular food. How good this restaurant is is reflected that on a midweek evening in current recession stricken Greece all tables are used and only two of them contained foreigners
Where to start- one of the chefs trained at El Bulli, I believe so you can expect molecular cuisine at the highest level. Luckily they have given it a dedicate “Greek” twist in large parts of the menu - so expect molecular takes on old favourites like souvlaki and choriatiki- all very interesting and made from great ingredients. A few international classics get the “treatment” too – watch out for blt and burgers. In line with others I do not want to go too much in detail about the food to not spoil the surprise of eating there- which I encourage everybody to do. Just so much the small tasting menu we had (and which is enough although I could easily have fitted the large one in) contained by far the best scallop dish I ever had, completely discouraged me of making burgers ever again (and I have tried Heston’s in search of perfection recipe). Also – we were there with my Greek in-laws- who are more conservative eaters- the flow of the menu and fun eating gave them a great evening too – despite them coming more for the company as for the food originally they thoroughly enjoyed it.
The sommelier has done some excellent wine matching – it would be stupid not take advantage of it- as it is also very moderately priced- and glasses are topped up frequently without asking. The wine pairing with the scallop and with the choriatiki both pushed the dishes in a different level – some of the best I ever had.
The whole service was enhanced by the breathtaking, almost surreal surroundings – the contrast between the slightly “rough” borough, the neoclassical outside of the house and strikingly modern interior- you dine on a converted roof terrace where you sit virtually outside but sheltered. The Spiegelau Glassware and Villeroy crockery enhances the table culture although tables are not layed in a classical way – you arrive and are seated on a bold black table and the crockery appeared when needed- but to enjoy the textures you are often encouraged to eat with your fingers, too.
The service brigade do everything to make you relax and enjoy your evening - the are always there without being obtrusive, very knowledgeable but not afraid to ask if they came to their limits (one diner was an endocrinologist and asked about calorie load of molecular food to compare to normal one). Nothing was too much and everything was done with a smile. The sommelier went out of his way and provided us with contact numbers of wineries and even people to speak to for our tour of the Peloponnesus.
If this restaurant was closer to central Europe it would have at least 2 stars (Michelin do you read this?)- however the food prices might be changed accordingly – so from a customer perspective this is even better as it is in my opinion exceptional good value – even for Athens and these times
Things to improve? Hard pressed to find any. Master chefs these days fall in two categories – one hiding behind screens and let the front of house do what they are meant too- others go round the tables and interact with the public. Here the chefs came out to sit down briefly on a table they obviously knew – which is absolutely fine however a few words to the other diners would not have gone amiss and give them more of the praise they rightly deserve…
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