I really love my friend Damianos…have done for years now…
Genuine, a native of Piraeus, straightforward and an Artist.
As far as his culinary skills are concerned he simply always leaves me speechless.
He didn’t start out as a chef. And as I also didn’t start out as a chef I feel it makes us closer.
Of course he started working with a force of nature that was Fabrizzio Bouliani so he was thrown immediately into the deep end.
“Shall we get a mixer to beat the egg whites into meringues faster?”
“Why?” Was Fabrizzio’s reply. “Don’t you have any hands?”
Well! When you start that way and learn exactly the point at which the egg white starts to thicken, when the dough for pasta is ready, when the caramel has reached exactly 120c, whatever happens in the kitchen after that, you are capable of handling it.
These old fashioned classic chefs are the best type for new chefs to meet who have a good mind and an appetite for their work. And of course without the old Greek mentality whereby the top chef showed you nothing, who came at night to makes the sauces in secret and other tricks.
Fabrizzio and Damianos made ‘big men’ and ‘chefs’ out of certain businessmen who stole their money and took advantage of them over the years and now want to give them awards…
Anyway…I didn’t want to say all that but I lived through that stuff with the boys and as the Greeks say “the fish stinks from the head first” In other words it’s normally the management at fault not the chefs when things go wrong.
Fabrizzio sadly has been gone for a year now and everyone who had ever eaten his food, who heard and felt his passion for it, count ourselves very fortunate. And Damianos remained by himself to manage the ‘orchestra’ like the maestro he is..
And he jumped into the deep end…He took on the kitchen of 7Epta in Ermou a restaurant which had been closed for a while and he is slowly making a name for himself in town there..
I have already been quite a few times; one of the first times I went I took my good camera, to take pictures of the food and the placeand the people.
The cuisine is Italian, profound, tasty and simple.. there aren’t any flashy dishes or weird ingredients but all is prepared with a wonderful talent which really is quite shocking.
You should definitely try the Gnocchi with courgettes (zucchini), you must try the Ravioli, The salads, especially the one with the artichokes . You will eat wonderful pasta dishes and if you are a large group, you will stop talking amongst yourselves to savour the flavours of the food.
The interior of the restaurant is a little heavy with chandeliers, heavy wooden furniture and doesn’t really go with the light cuisine and simple tasty dishes. Thank God it’s summer now and we can eat outside on the pedestrianised road and upstairs on the roof terrace with the views of the Acropolis.
In winter the decor may put you off but it’s worth putting up with it for the food.
Beware those amongst you who have problems with glass floors that reveal archaic remains in the basement and although it may not suit all some may enjoy literally walking on air :)
Finally I will talk about the desserts… or what can I say about them..Simply to say you could come and eat only the best desserts in the city. The AbFab (Absolutely Fabulous/Fabrizzio), the Zuppe Inglese, the Perfetta chocolate is stunning.. and it would be good not to have eaten anything before as you absolutely must try all the desserts!!!
So.. I don’t have much more to say. Ah! The incredible view from the roof terrace is yet another reason to visit and visit Markos Markou responsible for the entire project who is marvellous!!!
I hope I have convinced you to try it out…
Ermou 119 and Astigos 10 Athens
In Thessaloniki (Salonica) recently we were both struck down with a heavy cold and a chest infection….
Thankfully the Airbnb where we stayed had its own separate gas central heating which we could control and we got a bit better, but with the cold rainy weather and being tired from the journey by car up from Athens ,we found it difficult to find the enthusiasm to enjoy the culinary delights and great restaurants of the city.
A young girl we met via Instagram sent me a message and spoke of a really good and well loved place which was only 150 metres from our apartment.
As it was close and the reviews online we checked out were also good we decided to go early one evening…
That’s how we ended up at Extravaganza…I wouldn’t call it a restaurant, or a taverna..something in Thessaloniki that I didn’t imagine or expect to find, sort of like a gastro-bistro I would say.. A small space with an open kitchen where the chefs make tasty food which is uniquely different…
And indeed it was…whatever we ate was tasty, also what we drank and generally we had a great time there…
The fact that we were able to enjoy the meal without much sense of taste or smell caused by our colds, I would say made that meala really great success !
We had little cheese pies with a stunning onion jam.. a wonderful beetroot salad and cabbage dolmades with cabbage in the filling.
For mains we had a spring lamb dish and a wonderful beef tagliata.
Both were superbly cooked and fantastic plates of food…the tagliata had a mushroom sauce and the lamb was accompanied by beans and other wonderful goodies!
We had cocktails and great wine from their selected wine list.
The service was professional a little too formal but efficient.
They don’t allow people to smoke in the restaurant -Bravo!!
The decor was nothing special but the crowd which came to dine were very cool and gave the place its own unique vibe.