Varoulko Restaurant, Athens, Greece

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I visited the restaurant recently, on the occasion of the visit to Athens of dear family members.

As it happens, within days the restaurant will be relocated to Piraeus, so the visit was also a farewell to the nice terrace with view of the Athenian Acropolis.

Sea bream with smoky eggplant
Sea bream with smoky eggplant

The Chef of Varoulko is Lefteris Lazarou, one of the best chefs in Greece. The restaurant specializes in seafood, and this is what we had in the menu they offered to us.

The first dish was “Sea bream fillets on a bed of smoky eggplant”. The fillets were adjoined to crispy bread, adding texture to the tasty dish. I liked the eggplant very much, but do not understand the point of adding so many mini ingredients on the dish.

Sea Bream - detail
Sea Bream – detail

I did not taste anything special in these “vegetable drops”. If the intention is to add color to the presentation of the dish, there are better solutions.

Ground Grouper Stick
Ground Grouper Cylinder

The next dish was the best of the evening. Ground grouper meat  cylinder. It was delicious. A hint of mint and a thick sauce elevated the dish. I could not believe that grouper would taste so good. Another interesting aspect of the dish were the white flakes served on top of the cylinder. IT was fried skin. Simply delicious! As my cousin observed, I have always been a skin-enthusiast, so my verdict was to be expected.

Stuffed Cabbage
Stuffed Cabbage

The third dish was an inventive remake of a Greek traditional dish: “Stuffed cabbage”. The difference being that in the traditional dish the stuffing is pork meat, whereas chef Lazarou stuffed the cabbage with a tasty seafood mix that was not cohesive. The primary taste I could make out was that of shrimp, both in the stuffing and in the sauce.

The dish had some foam on top. It tasted of dill and lemon. I personally do not like foams, but this one was good. The fact however remains, that the foam always destryes the visual impression of the dish.

It is also interesting to note that chef Lazarou was not a fan of foams and similar gimmicks, but obviously he surrendered to the wave of customer demand. How can you go to a Michelin – starred restaurant and not be bombarded with foamy dishes?  What are you going to say to your friends, if there is no foam on the food?

The fourth dish was the less memorable of all, and as it were submerged under a thich layer of foam, there is no photo to be shown.

It was John Dory was a porcini mushroom sauce, chick peas and a parmesan foam. I liked the fish, but the dish overall did not come together for me.

Orange Cake

We enjoyed the dishes with a superb white wined from Santorini, Greece: Asyrtico Sigalas 2013.

Three deserts ended the dinner. My favourite was the Orange Cake. Simply because to create a sirupy cake with balance is difficult. This was almost perfect. And the accompanying vanilla ice cream was delicious.

Overall it was an excellent dinner. Next time though, I will ask for my dishes to have no foam!!!!