Travel & Life Digest

Renovated: Santorini, Bayswater

Last Saturday evening, my husband threw around the idea of having dinner in a Greek restaurant.
I frowned. You see, when you cook something at home, pretty well I dare say, you don't really feel like having it in a restaurant. Don't get me wrong, I feel the same way about Indian restaurants.
We cook Indian dishes at home and my mother-in-law spoils us with complex flavours, no greasy, over-spiced dishes. 
So, I usually think, "why go out for Greek food, when we can cook it at home?" and on top of that, the ones in London tend to feel dated and somehow dark. Anyway, I left it up to him to pick one.
He picked Santorini restaurant in Bayswater. Bayswater? I frowned again. It's so touristy!
What he didn't tell me, is that Santorini has recently been renovated.
As of the 2nd September, there is this modern, whitewashed Greek dinner spot, down the road from St Sophia, the Greek-orthodox Cathedral. If you have ever been in Greece, you will recognise the modern Aegean influences. Minimal decorations, airy space and rounded corners, just like you would expect to find amongst the narrow lanes of Mykonos and Paros.
Truffle Manti with Mizithra cheese stuffing

"We only have Greek beers" said the waiter. My husband grinned with joy, he loves the light taste of Fix, an Athenian brew served out of a very voluptuous, rounded bottle. If you've never tried Greek beer, I highly recommend it.
We had Tirokafteri and Spanakopitta for starters. I must admit that the Tirokafteri was on the salty side for me, but the velvety Spanakopitta was superb! I can never get mine to be so rich. I might need to use more butter and the greens combination does decide the flavour. A hint of dill finished it off nicely.
Pitta bread served out of an old wooden sieve or "krisara" as grandma used to call it.
The mains where such a treat,too. My main was a history lesson: Truffle Manti with mizithra stuffing. Manti are stuffed pieces of pasta, which can apparently be found in cuisines across Asia, from Mongolia to Thailand, all the way to the Aegean coast of what used to be imperial Byzantium and modern day Turkey. I have never had them before. They are served with yogurt and are very light and flavoursome.
My husband had Soutzoukakia, meatballs spiced with cumin and cinnamon, amongst other sweet and warm spices and cooked in a light red sauce. They were falling apart, so soft! I must find out how they did that, because once you fry them, they get this crispy outer layer, but these ones were so succulent.
Whatever you do, you must leave space for at least one dessert. I rarely go for it, but I just couldn't resist: Baklava...with chocolate filling! It was over the top off course, but who can resist warm filo parcels oozing with melting chocolate and crunchy nuts, alongside vanilla ice cream?
And there was Ekmek Kataifi too! A very old-fashioned dessert, bringing very fond memories of home. It's a layer of sweet kataifi (angel's hair) topped with nuts, crème anglaise and whipped cream, for good measure! It's the bomb, if you ask me. Not to be consumed on one of your dieting days that's for sure!
I am glad we came, we had such a nice evening, good food, good atmosphere and we even met the owner, who was so down to earth and chatted with us about the dishes. All I can say is: best of luck! 
Chocolate Baklava
Ekmek Kataifi

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