Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 June 2016
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 JUNE 2016 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU L ast week we were immersed in a unique Greek cuisine experience. Elyros' formidable duo, Angie Giannakodakis and Disa Dimitrakakis, spearheaded a return to the ancient Greek paleo diet that dates back to the Minoans. Elyros, which is named in honour of Dimitrakakis' mother's village in south-western Crete, is nestled in the heart of Camberwell, calling a stunning 1920s bank building home. We were welcomed with the aromas of olibanum incense and were seated at a wide marble table impeccably set for chef Jarrod Smith's Cretan feast, accompanied with a wide array of Greek wines. "Crete was the birthplace of the first advanced civilisation in Europe, the Minoans," Angie Giannakodakis said. "We celebrate this impressive culture, by exploring what they ate and how they cooked with our inaugural dinner." The Minoan Table is all about the simplicity and purity of ancient Cretan cuisine. As modest as the food may seem, each pairing has been extremely well thought out as the Minoans did not use salt, lemon and spices. Their diet was light, each ingredient was used in its purest form and herb combinations would create the effects of acidity and sweetness; seafood would replace salt, fennel, shallots and grapes would replace lemon. "We put a great deal of effort into this project - there are years of research involved - in discovering the secrets of our ancestors," Disa Dimitrakakis added. "This is a fresh new take on this culture, a celebration of honest flavours encompassing the frugality of traditional Cretan life." A basket of house-made barley bread, coal-fired with fermented grains and flat bread cooked on stone was served with pure olive oil, olives and a flight of white wines to give us a first taste of Cretan filoxenia. For the first time, we tried kalitsounia What does Greece taste like? Elyros and Epocha restaurants explore the cooking traditions of Minoan Greeks and introduce us to wines from the world’s oldest vine regions (Cretan fried cheese pies with goat’s cheese and honey) in their deconstructed, yet most authentic form. The dough was made of weeds and was filled with spinach, silverbeet and fennel fronds. The honey and the house-made goat’s cheese were served separately, warmed inside crunchy vine leafs. Those tiny bites, in combination with tiny sips of the traditional tsikoudia and rakomelo, felt like steps towards heaven. It did not take long for a large pot filled with slow-burning orchard wood to land on each table. This is where the large prawns would be cooked and then devoured with a coriander seed, vinegar and sprouted lentils mix. A platter of tuna cooked on marble with burnt and sweet fennel and fennel pollen stole the limelight, along with the coal-fired orange skorthalia. This was paired with a 2013 Thrapsathiri wine from the Idaia 'Ocean' Dafnes variety from Crete. Then came the octopus, braised in dark beer, chard and bulbs. A mouthwatering delicacy that paired perfectly with a 2013 Vilana Lyrarakis barrel-fermented wine from Arkalochori, Crete. Such a rare wine to both enjoy our meal and cleanse our palate with. In my almost 34 years on this earth, I have been adamant about not eating rabbit but I succumbed. The aroma of the light pink meat poached in olive oil and grape petimezi was irresistible.
28 May 2016
11 June 2016