Food Of The Week
Traditional recipes are getting a modern makeover in a new generation of restaurants. Andy Lynes gets tasting
Sunday 04 June 2006
The Greeks may have given democracy to the world, but their contribution to gastronomy has been slightly less impressive. But that's all changing as a new breed of Grecian chefs look to the modern cookery of Spain and America and the masters of French cuisine for inspiration. Add in fantastic local produce, wonderful views and some stunning interior design and the new Grecian cuisine looks like a very attractive proposition.
At the visually stunning 48 Restaurant, Armatolon & Klefton 48, Athens (00 30 210 6411 082; 48the restaurant.com) chef Christoforos Peskias transforms the traditional Greek dish of peinirli (a boat-shaped snack made from yeasted dough) by replacing the traditional cheese filling with truffles, sweetbreads or sea urchin.
There are stunning views from the terrace at Koukoumavlos (00 30 22860 23807), Fira, Santorini, but even that might not be enough to distract you from the surprising combination of crayfish with white chocolate, ginger and lemon sauce on your plate.
Dine among the palm trees in the garden of Mamacas, near central Manto Square, Chora, Mykonos (00 30 22890 26120; mamacas.gr), a trendy taverna where local olives, cheeses and charcuterie appear on the menu of updated traditional Greek dishes.
The Mediterranean cuisine at The Plate, Mykonos Theoxenia Hotel, 84600 Kato Mili, Mykonos, Greece (00 30 22890 22230; mykonostheoxenia.com) is as contemporary as its super-cool boutique hotel surroundings. Rack of lamb with Greek herb jus and Niçoise vegetables sets the tone.
The traditional cuisine of Santorini is given a modern makeover at Selene, Fira, Santorini (00 30 22860 22249; selene.gr). Balls made from fava (yellow split peas) stuffed with caper and tomato make use of the island's holy trinity of ingredients.
At Spondi 5, Pyrronos Street, Varnavas Square, 11636 Pagrati, Athens (00 30 210 752 0658; spondi.gr) they apply classical French cooking techniques to local ingredients with surprising results. Spiced red wine poached strawberries come with an unusual olive oil ice cream.
Also in Athens, chef Lefteris Lazarou looks to the ocean, olive grove and vineyard for inspiration for his menu at Varoulko, 80 Piraeus Street, Athens (0030 210 5228 400; varoulko.gr). There are more than 100 Grecian wines on the restaurant's list, so you're bound to find the perfect bottle to accompany a dish of marinated sea bream with cracked black pepper, Gaea extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Venetsianiko Pigadi, 1 Desila Street, Kremasti Square, Campielo, Corfu (00 30 26610 44761) is generally regarded as Corfu's best restaurant. Inventive, contemporary dishes might include breast of duck accompanied by dried fruits.
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