A marketing coordinator that enjoys reviewing in her spare time. Living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney - on the brink of something fabulous!
Published September 27th 2012
A stray from the traditional Greek fare but SMH rates it
[ADVERT]We visited Xanthi as a party of four on Friday night and had no difficulty booking at the beginning of the week. The restaurant was relatively quiet when we arrived at 7pm.
The service was polite and helpful. Whilst the entrance is Greek in theme and colour, the traditionalism seems to end there.
We oohed and ahed over the menu, struggling to choose from the great assortment of Ouzomezedakia (sharing plates). We decided on four between the four of us and a main course each. We also ordered the haloumi as one of our starters and found it to be nothing out of the ordinary. The dish was on the plain side.
We also sampled the stuffed banana chillis. The roasted banana chillis stuffed with 3 cheeses, Kasseri, graviera and ricotta, and served with a red capsicum cinnamon paste sounded fantastic on paper, but in reality was on the boring side and lacked flavour.
Our third starter dish was the deep fried school prawns, served with a classical ancient Greek sauce of garum (fish sauce), honey and almonds. This was another one that was fantastic on paper but lacked the punch when dish arrived to our table. The school prawns were the same as those being done in many restaurants all over Sydney and the honey flavour was absent altogether. The dish was served with a lemon wedge, which we squeezed on. This meant you could taste lemon with every crunchy bite, and not a lot else.
For our final starter, we went with the mixed dips. The pita was lovely and warm and the dips were a winner - tzatziki, tarama and split pea. We used all our bread before demolishing the dip and were offered more, which was then charged at $3 on our bill. Whilst we expected the charge, it would have been nice to have been notified of it at the time.
So far we were enjoying our meal,but whilst the dishes were varied, they didn't have that real Greek feel. Onto the mains.
After reading the short description of the Apo Tin Plastira (From the Wooden Board), I could read no further and decided I must try one of these! The menu informs you that "A Plastira is a wooden board that the women of the village use to stretch and roll out filo." Their pastry is hand rolled and made to order, so the wait time for the dish can be up to 30 minutes.
There are three options for fillings. I ordered the Stifado; meat boned from the spit and cooked slowly overnight in a rich tomato, clove, honey and red wine sauce, served with white bean puree. From this there is a further three choices - lamb, pork or goat. I went with the goat. The dish was great. The meat was melt in your mouth and pastry crisp and warm.
Others ordered the seafood kakavia, which was meant to be a thick broth with seafood but was not overly soupy and was more flavoursome pieces of seafood in a large pot. Regardless, it was tasty and very much enjoyed.
The only real downfall of the meal was the road duck with quince. At $33, you'd expect a reasonably sized main meal (especially seeing as the other two mains were large portions). This however was not the case. In a large, shallow bowl sat four small slivers of roast duck on some greenery.