I'll admit it. Until now, I'd pretty much written off the the Sydney Westfield level 6 restaurants all together, thinking they could only be the sort of dull, last-resort kind of places best left for the over-shopped. Despite all the ultra-positive reviews, some of the higher-end spots (like Becasse and Quarter Twenty One) were getting, dinner in a shopping centre still just seemed, well, downright daggy. Too many trips to a certain coffee house chain as a teen had plagued me.
It was when critics started penning up their experiences at Xanthi that I finally started to get curious. Gourmet Traveller touted it one of Sydney's most promising Greek restaurants, while SMH's Terry Durack summed it up as 'fun, loud and good value,' and noted the buzz of the atmosphere. Taking it all on board, my sister and I decided to board the elevator and give it a go. The verdict? Er, let's just say we were back again the next week.
As Terry suggested, stepping inside the restaurant feels a lot like arriving at a party. A kooky middle-aged dinner party perhaps, but a party nonetheless. The big open kitchen, full tables and the tipsy christmas-hat-wearing office workers set the scene, while pretty patterned booths, hanging lanterns and a drapey curtain ceiling make the setting to match.
What, how and how much you eat is really flexible. Whether your tummy is calling for a four course meal or just snacks to fill the holes between the cocktails, there's something to make you go nom. Since the share-plate style Ouzomezedakia options pretty much had us scarfing down our menus just looking at them, we decided that's the way we'd go. Fried calamari with mayo and zucchini fritters are safe bets, but the dolmathes (stuffed vine leaves) and gigantes (butter beans with tomato and feta) are absolute treats. The mains look to be equally tasty and interesting, and though probably hearty enough on their own, would also be great matched with the greek salad. With fresh herbs, loads of olive oil and proper feta cheese, it is good for you and addictive.
It might not be the place to take friends you want to impress with your hipster cred, but Xanthi is definitely cooler (and waaay tastier!) than the shopping centre cafes of the yester-decade. And with most small dishes around $8, it is probably cheaper too.
Nice review! I have to say, don't order the banquet if you don't want to roll out of there and if you're a vegetarian... The moussaka is what you get and unfortunately they tried to make it "cool" by adding truffle... and they added way too much. I am not a dessert person and I liked the dessert more than anything. Such a shame. I come from a European background and it was very disappointing eating "Greek" food at Xanthi. Nonetheless, the service was amazing. The banquet was $55 but it was very filling. They make decent mojitos, too. The music was authentic Greek music and I really liked the cosy atmosphere and the decorations, which surprise surprise, weren't entirely authentic Greek. Very nice review Rynagh :)