Κυριακή, 8 Ιουνίου 2014

Chez Violette, bringing Paris to Athens!

Here I am after a long time with a new post. In the meantime between my last posts I visited Prague and the amazing small village in Germany called Dittigheim. I had some pretty descent culinary experiences but no time to write about it.
Before few months a friend of mine who runs Rozalia restaurant in Athens told me about a new opening he did. He took me there to check it out and I was left with my mouth open. Restaurants are located in an amazing old building that previously was an elementary school. In the upper floor and the backyard of the building they run a Greek meze restaurant and after you walk some stairs to the down floor you reach the amazing entrance of a small French Bistro called “ Chez Violette”.
In my opinion Chez Violette is the most beautiful restaurant in Athens now and it’s the closest you can get to the Parisian atmosphere. The owner of the restaurant  is French for real and made a place where you can get the actual daily flavor of what residents in Paris can get. The huge surprise was the prices in the menu, I couldn’t believe my eyes! Need example? Salads starting from 4 euro, appetizers 3-4 euro, Main dishes 8-9 euro and a small wine list starting from 10 euro a 750ml bottle or 2,5 euro by glass. For some reason everyone involved to bring the french cuisine to Athens was approaching the food in the fancy, expensive way. Nobody tried to make an honest, comfort French restaurant and this is the gap the Chez Violette came to fill in.
We had a Green salad with crème dressing and cod croquettes with pineapple sauce for starters. Both where really fresh and had unique taste. My main dish was duck confit in layers with mashed potatoes au gratin, my wife’s main was chicken with avocado curry sauce. Everything we tried was really honest French kitchen with good ingredients and you get this sense that your mother is cooking.

What I really liked was the timings of Service. They bring appetizers within 3-4 minutes and they let you enjoy them before they go on with the mains unlike other restaurants that fill you table with everything and you don’t know what to eat first.
When you finish your dinner they immediately pick up empty plates and they don’t ask all the time if you want dessert. I think I found a place to spend the hot summer nights in Athens, If you are going there Friday or saturday night make sure you reserve a table.
Kalidromeiou 69, Methwnis 66 exarchia.
tel 0030 2103845974

Cuisine: 7/10
Wine List: 6/10
Service: 10/10
Atmosphere: 10/10





Κυριακή, 2 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

PARADISO, WINE LOVERS SANCTUARY IN CHALANDRI!




Back in action with my third visit to one of the longest running restaurants in Athens, open since 1978!!! Paradiso is family run Italian restaurant in Chalandri with the presence of the second generation owner Gregory being reason on its own to visit it. Greg respects and knows the wine better than any other restaurant owner in Athens.  Paradiso is one of the few restaurants in Athens that you can get a flight of 5 wines for 10 euro to match your dinner, Greg will spend time to explain and give every possible info on each wine you will try. The wine list changes every month including both rare and mainstream choices really fairly priced.
The Decoration is really minimal and not dinner friendly, but this is certainly something you will forget once the dishes start coming.
We started our dinner with the prosciutto salad which was really good with really fresh ingredients and a perfectly balanced sweet-sour dressing.  The two appetizers were eggplant croquets and some really delicious brouschettes. The wine suggestion of Greg was the amazingly crispy Chardonnay from katsarou winery which we really enjoyed.



 



We got 4 different main courses and everything was really well cooked, my tagliata di manzo was simply astonishing.  The meat had this amazing buttery texture and it was perfectly medium grilled. Top notch quality bio meat which I really enjoyed. My only small complain was the side lettuce instead of the standard baby rucolla.
 


 



The highlight of the night though was the wine Greg chose for our main course. Methistanes from dougos winery 2003 is probably the best Greek wine I have ever tried alongside with La tour melas 2008. Unfortunately Greg informed me the vintage is totally sold out so it will be really difficult for me to try it again.
The nose of the wine is fruity with aromas of dried cherry and strawberry. Body was full with round tannins and long finish. An 93/100 for me, just imagine i didnt even tried the desserts not to lose the taste i had in mouth!
All in all this is a restaurant for people who love wine and not only with great service and great food. Highly suggested!
Cuisine: 7/10
Wine List: 9/10
Service: 10/10
Atmosphere: 3/10

Κυριακή, 12 Ιανουαρίου 2014

Moouu, new restaurant dedicated to beef



This strange name for a restaurant comes from the sound the beef makes, which is not a really smart and helpful name if you ask me. Imagine trying to tell you friends “hey I found a new restaurant we should go, its called moouu”. Probably they will think you are trying to make fun of them.
The owner’s of this new restaurant run already a nearby fish food restaurant called “sardelaki” for which I have heard many good words and it is considered a really successful project.
Moouu is trying to offer a cheaper solution then it’s competitors in different cuts of beef. The menu is really small and straight to the point. It consists of few appetizers, 3-4 salads, chicken fillet(thank god because my wife would have issues finding something to eat) and 10 different cuts of beef! Their meat is supposed to be Grass fed from breeds like wagyu, black angus and Hereford. The first big mistake I found on the menu is that they don’t identify which type of breed is each cut.  When you advertise the importance of the raw material you should be able to provide all the info through the menu or at least through the waiter, who had no idea what types of breed they use.
The wine list is small but it is very good! Most of their choices come from small unknown producers, some of them I didn’t even know, and thanks to them I found a new amazing merlot from Migas Estate!

The chef's welcome was a potato soup shot with truffle oil which was ok.
 We started our dinner with steak tartar and fried potatoes.  The tartar came with the classic poached egg and the waiter old us we should break it so as the croquet will mix with the meat. Unfortunately the egg was over boiled so we missed that.  The quality of the meat though was very good and well spiced.


Main dishes was chicken fillet with side salad, which was very good but then what can go wrong with a chicken fillet when you use good materials.My unknown cut that was suggested to me by the waitress but she didn’t remember the name because it was new  the menu. Anyhow this dish was my main reason for visiting the restaurant and it was really good tastewise, from my small experience i believe it was flat iron.  The meat had this butter texture, perfectly medium grilled accompanied by the classic three types of salt and grilled vegetables.


The key question here is if the restaurant can stand next to Vezene or Base grill and at the same time be 30% cheaper. Well… no. It can be though a nice choice for an alternative when you want to have a well grilled steak from nice materials as long as they will improve their service.  I will not mention all the problems the service had because the restaurant is brand new and I am sure they will take care of them.
The reason I never mention desserts is that I rarely have space for them and I am not even a big fan of them at all. 
  
Cuisine: 7/10
Wine List: 7/10
Service: 3/10
Atmosphere: 5/10