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2018

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Monday, 26 November 2018 19:38

Birdman Japanese Pub!

A long bar with two ways in and out brings together all sorts at all times. The place is Japanese contemporary and overcrowded if you don’t get to seat at the bar. Everyone squeezes to pass by and the waiting staff is forever smiling trying to say ‘I’m sorry may I pass?”. Behind the bar there are about 10 people as some 4 chefs are working on top of each other, a bartender, a cashier, some waitresses and a responsible person all interchanging  in an effort to provide an efficient service.

 

 

Birdman is a new pub with Japanese small bites in Athens like any other modern Yakitori restaurant in hip cities of the world but much more, it refers to places in New York to me. The buzz is superb, the music is jazzy, funky, rock eclectic perhaps, but what amused me was the placement of two vinyl players and a mixer with loads of vinyls to be played but only 60 cm space was available for a supposed dj to stand on top of the cashier to spin vinyl records. I wish I had experience that. I noticed a compilation of Miles Davies on top of the record player, it would have been nice! Oh and a contrast as there was a little robot on top of the vinyl players! So cool!

Do not take me wrong, Birdman is an innovation for Athens and an alternative bar or pub as they call themselves. It opened in July/August 2018. There is quality in the glasses and the ice, an extensive collection of whiskies from Japan, America, Scotland and more, Gin and tonics to be included in the trend, some classic cocktails, sake and less beers. The list is well thought.

The food items were in groups of bites, greens, yakitory, some signature bites and a couple of sweets all beautiful and so, so tasty! Birdman says "our yakitori skewers are caramelized at 500 degrees Celsius over a cast iron grill under a bed of natural lava rocks!". Mushidori, Tsukume and Kaburi compiled the bites of the night alongside draught Asahi beer and Nikka Coffey Gin and tonics.

 

 

Why go there –It’s a bar, a nice bar, with some bites, very good bites, light and it’s good eating. You are looked after by so many skilled people right in front of you. It is an experience and a change from a typical night out at a seat down meal. Keep it simple!

Hint – Pair the Hibiki whisky with the meaty bites of the menu.

 

 

Birdman
Skoufou 2/Voulis 35
Athens
Published in Where to go
Monday, 26 November 2018 19:31

NOEL Athens most preferred bar

Not very new but probably Athens most preferred bar with food for all the times. A spectacular bar with people from the morning till late at night. The place features perhaps 3 bars well stocked for innovative cocktails the Athenian way! Athens is probably a cocktail town featuring many celebrated specializing bars and people are supporting this scene by always going out thus making their town constantly busy all days of the week. 

Feeling this buzz we entered the world of Noel as if it’s always Xmas! Heavy curtains and ornated ceilings with lush chandeliers and old paintings on the walls all add to a spectacle everywhere you look. Don’t try to analyze the exact era or location or the authenticity of the interiors portrait, as you will be confused. Simply take Noel as it is, a creation of a busy atmosphere transitions with impressions of a classic 18th century perhaps tea room or else! Alternatively be in Havana or Rio, Paris or Venice all in one place called NOEL in Athens!

We went there for brunch with no booking and as there were no available tables we sat at the bar which we love. We had the ‘Eggs Noel’ with sautéed spinach, baby asparagus, prosciutto, parmesan, poached eggs and truffle oil and ‘Eggs Benedict’ with green salad. Accompanied by 3 types of bread and country styled fries we enjoyed every bit of it. The brunch was followed by coffee and more drinks later…and more good cocktails by the early evening!

 

 

Highness (Masticha, lemon, cardamom, mango and thyme)

 

The music was eclectic as in most bars in Athens probably most trying to please the same audience and portrait vintage jazzy or remixed lifestyle tunes from Italy, France and South America although Noel added references to Greek music too.

Although the service was confusing as the scene was one of so many people looking after so many people…, we were lifted by the buzz of the place and the fact that we stepped in a whole new world in the heart of Athens.

Why go there- It’s highly recommended!

 

 

NOEL
Kolokotroni 59
Athens
Published in Where to go
Monday, 26 November 2018 19:23

ITHAKI Reputation Vs 'Awards'

We were well received at this reputable classic restaurant, so perfectly located by the sea in Glyfada, Vouliagmeni, Athens, with trained personnel and always supporting your choice of dishes as they are obviously so reassured of the end result coming out of the kitchen!

Quoting their website  ‘It offers an authentic gastronomic experience with an impressive guest list including famous jet setters among others – Athina Onasis, Bill Clinton, Sean Connery, Julio Iglesias and Leonardo Di Caprio – at Ithaki your invitees will enjoy a ritual of excellence in taste, service and high quality.’

 

 

There are two concept menus offered. One is the modern Mediterranean but we went for the second option, the Asian fusion menu prepared by Chef Antonis Kourkoutas, a ‘self-developed’ in the Asian specialized menu (see also dedicated article in FACES www.speakeasyhacker.com)

The Sardines in white soya, fig leaf oil, cold citrus and seafood juice and prosciutto, being the lightest of the dishes ordered, was fresh to the mouth and refreshing to the palate with enough juice to soak the bread and wipe clean the dish!  The deep fried octopus with white ponzu glaze, potato yoghurt puree and furikake crumble was a combination that had contradiction of textures from the light yoghurt potato to the furikake crumble, surrounding the soft octopus with hints of the acidity coming from the ponzu glaze. Finally the Sea bream carpaccio with jalapeno dressing, smoked eel ice cream and puffed grains was as delicate as it sounds with refine references to the palate, and with a combination of gentle aftertaste.

 

 

Deep fried octopus with white ponzu glaze, potato yoghurt puree and furikake crumble

 

Sea bream carpaccio with jalapeno dressing, smoked eel ice cream and puffed grains

 

Against the old fashion rules we had a light red with Agiorgitiko and Xinomavro varieties which was served in a beautiful decanter. Dessert was like a modern version of Kateif with masticha cream and caramelized pastry leaves which completed the experience to a meal satisfaction.

It was a pleasure and an honor to meet Antonis Kourkoutas, a chef with many prospects and capabilities and a good calm character as well, a rather rare combination in people working with fire!

Ithaki is a restaurant with a proper approach to classic respectable dinning, straight to the point of quality of modern food and with the ambiance of a seaside view.

Why go there -  It probably deserves a high rank classification in whatever award system exists in Greece and definitely Michelin would include it in the listing with whatever distinction. It is not necessary for a place to be in the books of any known body going around marking places to eat and drink. Dinners do that by frequenting these places for years and that is the best form of recognition!

Tip - If you visit Ithaki, ask for a new dish, shown below, fried cauliflower with homemade favabean/honey/garlic/truffle miso, steamed leeks raw chestnut and black truffle.

 

Other creations at Ithaki 

ʜᴀᴍᴀᴄʜɪ ᴄᴜʀᴇᴅ ɪɴ sʜɪʀᴏ sᴏʏᴜ ᴡɪᴛʜ ғᴇʀᴍᴇɴᴛᴇᴅ ᴄᴀsʜᴇᴡ ᴘᴜʀᴇᴇ ᴀɴᴅ ʜɪʙɪsᴄᴜs

 

 

Ithaki
Apollonos 28, Vouliagmeni
Glyfada/Athens
Published in Where to go

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