I am a freelance reviewer in Sydney, and lover of sharing my experiences in all things food, wine, entertainment and travel related.
Published October 26th 2012
Greek Food Odyssey in Sydney Westfield
Westfield Sydney is fast becoming home to a series of great restaurants on Level 6, and Xanthi is one of them.
Owner David Tsirekas, who's former Petersham restaurant Perama had been a Sydney Greek institution for a long time, has successfully delivered Xanthi – a beautiful Ottoman inspired restaurant delivering delicious, high quality Greek cuisine in the heart of the city.
Staying to true to Greek food and culture, everything here is devoted to Greece. The décor, music and food is obviously Greek. All drinks on the menu – beers, wines and sparkling water are from Greece, and there is also a bottle of olive oil placed on the centre of the table which is from Greece. One can only hope that the abundance of Greek imports is supporting its tragic economy.
The décor is modern and sophisticated, and features traditional rugs and cushions, and has both table and booth seating. The open plan kitchen allows diners to see all the action and hear the sounds of the grills, spits, sizzles and smoke of the tasty food that is being cooked by the talented staff in the kitchen.
The Calamari is next to arrive. It has a subtle smoky taste, and is fresh and tender. The flavours of the flour, fish, oil, lemon and ouzo mayonnaise go very well together.
You cannot go past the white, salty, cheese that is Halloumi. This Cypriot gem is char-grilled, served warm with lemon and drizzled with olive oil and oregano in just the right amount. It sits on a bed of honey figs and diced tomatoes. The cheese has the great barbecued flavor and the characteristic Halloumi squeak with every chew.
We also sample the eggplant and feta patties for something different. The patties consist of fried eggplant, feta and basil patties crumbed in a black and white sesame crumb coating. Served with lime and paprika creamed ricotta, it is an interesting and tasty combination.
The last dish to arrive is the Skaras Lamb. It is slow-braised-then-barbecued lamb shoulder with paprika, olive oil and garlic, sitting on a bed of lemon potatoes and green beans. Each mouthful delivers beautiful herb flavours and the lamb is pull apart tender. The dish is like the Greek version of meat and two veg, but better.