Greek Salad and Dip Selection: Tarama, Split Pea and Tzatziki
I’ve been to Greece once and I absolutely love their food. There is nothing similar to Greek cuisine elsewhere in the world. To celebrate my birthday we dined at Xanthi for lunch and when the food arrived it did not disappoint. The food was delicious and the dessert was fantastic. We had a truly wonderful meal. Xanthi is easily my favourite Greek restaurant in Sydney.
Being that I’m Greek I don’t usually visit Greek restaurants. There’s no real point when I can get this kind of food at home and, I realise I could be just a little bit biased, it doesn’t compare to my parents’ cookings. Mum and dad take on quite traditional roles when it comes to food, with mum mostly cooking in the kitchen, and my dad happily manning the spits, both large and small.
So how is that I came to visit Xanthi Restaurant and Bar? I was homesick. I’d been traveling for over two months, and I guess subconsciously I wanted to be close to what I knew. I don’t imagine for a second that I have such great insight into my thoughts and feelings, it was my mum who pointed it out after I sent her about 15 SMSs during this dinner…
I was eager to try the dish that everyone had been raving about, the Pork Belly Baklava. It suffices to say, it lives up to expectations. If anyone is interested in reverse-engineering the date sauce, let me know.
The Lamb Skaras was also delicious, with a more traditional flavour. I’m a massive fan of lamb and beef with lemon and olive oil bastings. Even just a grilled steak with lemon juice squeezed is so tasty in it’s simplicity…
Our first course is a tasting plate to share – Greek tapas as it were. The smoked eel croquettes had the hot, soft and fluffy inner texture surrounded by a deep fried, crispy outer shell that’s a signature of croquettes. The taste was very good as well – whereas a bad croquette generally has little to no taste, these were rich in starchiness and umami from the eel…
Not much needs to be said – I’ve only begun exploring all the dishes Xanthi has to offer (they’ve a BIG menu). I think I’ve found the Greek restaurant to return to.
Cretan Odyssey and the Commemoration of the Battle of Crete dinner @ Xanthi
The rustic stuffed calamari was plate-licking good! The sauce was strong, deep and full of flavours, yet it did not overpower the sweetness of the calamari and prawns. A hint of oriental spices gave the dish another level of taste. The refreshing coleslaw on the side was beautiful!
David who loves exploring regional Greek food told us to look out for more regional dinners to come. This is exactly our cup of tea, so we will definitely be coming back for more. Actually, we already have one lined up: The Tastes of Alexander the Great!
I highly recommend trying Xanthi. I loved that they were Greek to the small details of beverages and even the olive oil on the table. There were many ‘classic’ Greek offerings like the dips and Greek salad, but I noticed plenty of less common dishes on the menu too. The lunch special was excellent value and we were full to the brim afterwards. Also, because it’s a set menu, all the food was brought out quite quickly too. Our waiters were friendly, which added to the pleasant experience.
We were really indecisive about our second dessert. We were tossing up between the Banana Ekmek and Garden of Aphrodite until David came along and recommended the banana ekmek as more of a sharing dessert so banana ekmek it was! There were two banana pieces which were wrapped with kataifi to make them very reminiscent of the banana fritters I’ve had at Ms G’s! I loved the crunchy exterior dusted with cinnamon. Who doesn’t love cinnamon? :D There was also a quenelle of chocolate mousse which was fluffy yet rich at the same time. The salted caramel was served as two small cubes and were very thick - almost the consistency of fudge but not quite…
We left very full at the end of our meal and very satisfied with the quality of the dishes. I would definitely say Xanthi s one of my favourites. Service is friendly and food is consistently delicious!
Homeric Beef $33 - barbecued eye fillet with a red wine and thyme jus served with a broad bean and graviera barley risotto and crumbed artichokes
… the food at Xanthi was delicious, everything was cooked so well, the meat was succulent and the pork belly baklava - no words. I will aim to eat there again before I die and highly recommend it to you all out there. It. Was. Freaking. Amazing.
Not knowing how long it would be before we could return, we had to sample at least two desserts, the intriguing and aptly named Garden of Aphrodite - an eden of honey milk panna cotta, caramelised figs, candied almonds and almond milk sorbet.
The figs had us salivating with the toffee-glaze cracklingly crisp and the panna cotta was smooth, suitably wobbly and not overly sweet.
The second dessert was the Banana Ekmek - baked kataifi (fine strands of wheat pastry) wrapped bananas served with spiced chocolate mousse and salted caramel.
Reminiscent of a banana fritter without the oily residue, the pieces of caramel fudge added texture to the smooth perfectly salted caramel sauce. The mousse was spiced with cinnamon.
With its generous serves and variety of dishes on offer and young, enthusiastic and unobtrusive waitstaff, there is plenty for us to return to and I’m guessing it won’t be too long before we do!
YaYa’s Yum Yums - 19 October 2012
We either select our starters incredibly well, or they are all just phenomenal. The Barbecued Cypriot Haloumi served with diced honey peppered figs takes our longstanding love of haloumi to a whole new level. The sweetness of the dried figs is a beautiful match for the salty barbecued haloumi…
The food is fantastic, generous, great value.
Hayley Browne, Agenda City - June 2012