This may sound odd but this year we celebrated our Independence Day in a Greek restaurant. Normally the three of us get together and cook something Peruvian but since I had just spent 3 weeks back home (and my sister 4 weeks) we didn’t want to ruin the experience by making something that wouldn’t taste half as good as what we ate there.
The chosen Greek spot was Xanthi (finally!), the restaurant David Tsireka opened after shutting down Perama in Petersham. I never went to Perama but I can imagine it wasn’t as fancy as Xanthi, given the location.
We got there pretty late, which was good because there were plenty of tables available. It didn’t take us too long to order four mains to share and some wine (Greek, of course) to go with them.
Seafood kakavia, a rich thick herbaceous chunky broth of octopus, prawns, scallops, clams, carrots, potatoes and celery, served with toasted kasseri bread, was the first to arrive. The seafood was great, those Greeks do know how to cook it. That tomato-based sauce on the plate was eagerly consumed. If only we were allowed to lick the plate.
Seafood kakavia ($34)
We had told the waiter we didn’t eat gluten, so they sent gluten-free bread. I didn’t care about the bread and managed to ignore the gooey kasseri cheese for a while but I gave up, lifted it off the bread and cut a piece to try. And then another piece, and another. It was tangy, salty and delicious.
Toasted kasseri bread
I had never ordered duck in a Greek restaurant, I kinda associate it with Asian cuisine, but I must say the Roast duck with quinc was phenomenal. The duck itself was good, but the spiced roasted quince (I could taste at least cinnamon and cloves) was the star of the dish. It was super sweet, next time I’ll eat the meat and the greens and leave the quince for dessert.
Roast duck with quince ($33)
Next was the dish everyone talks about, the famous meat from the spit, which can be lamb, pig or goat, and comes in 250g and 500g servings, with toasted pita bread, sumac spice sliced tomato, onion, and tzatziki. We chose a small portion of pig but were disappointed. The taste was alright but most of the meat was dry. I think it could have been because we were late and they overcooked the meat.
Pig from the spit ($38 for 250g)
The final dish was Lamb skaras, Perama’s famous slow braised lamb shoulder marinated in paprika, garlic and olive oil, barbecued and served with a lemon & olive oil baste, with baked lemon oregano potatoes and steamed string beans.
Lamb skaras ($31)
The dishes were not that big, so four mains (with no entreés or sides) was the right amount to feed the three of us.