Friday, September 9, 2011

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant, Westfield Sydney CBD

Xanthi is a city in Thrace, North Eastern Greece. Generally speaking, somewhere down my Greek genetic line there is some ancestry there. Apparently, I come from a line of barbarian warrior Greeks of the North; fitting isn't it? Geography and family olive trees aside, Xanthi is the spectacular new Greek restaurant in the premium dining precinct at Westfield Sydney. It is owned and run by David Tsirekas of the legendary Greek Restaurant Perama. Lucky for the Sydney dining scene; David has forged his blood, sweat and tears in this new project.
You can say that Xanthi is a bigger, badder and better Perrama. It's unfair to draw comparisons between the two but if the restaurants were two rival warring Greek nations Xanthi would definitely be Sparta. Just rest assured it's pretty badass. Like Gerard Butler in 300 badass. Just look at that vertical spit; if that doesn't get you hankering for a mean meal, then stick to your yeeros mate.
So after a long and very strenuous day of shopping (suprisingly; it was me who came out victorious, and not the warrior princess this time around) we could think of nothing better than to go and enjoy Xanthi for ourselves. Now when Greek food comes to mind most people think of big banquet style meals that fill you, just like Sunday lunch at Yia Yia's. However; Xanthi has a menu where you can pick ouzomezedakia, small plates of food to pick on and share whilst sipping on some ouzo or wine. The thought just takes me back to the motherland. Of course we settled on the BBQ Haloumi $10.00, always a standard pick being a favourite Greek dish. Served in a small black bowl and garnished with oregano you can't go wrong. Make it swim in lemon and it's like you are back in Greece. Well not quite but it's nice to think that you are.
Our next small plate was the Fried school prawns $9.00. This was tossed in honey, fish sauce, sesame seeds and almond flakes - the combinations of flavours make it an absolute winner. This was easy to pick at and share; having a more complex flavour than your average salt and pepper school prawn offerings. Ouzo would've made a very nice accompaniment, an idea for next time. 

Feeling drained from the days activity's and the fact that it was still early on, we didn't have any ouzo despite the novel ouzo trolley standing by. It's a nice touch that Xanthi has one of the largest varieties of ouzo, tsipouro (aka lighter fluid) and Greek brandy. One can sit back and pick at some food, shoot back a shot or ten and flick those worry beads whilst going through a pack of Marlboro reds. Sorry, we're not in Greece. It's easy to forget while in Xanthi, so you can do everything except the last part. So instead of having ouzo we had some beautiful Greek wine, a glass of Notios Agiorgitiko for myself and Ramnista Kir Yianni for Gianna. We do love our vino here at the Empty Fridge and both wines were delicious enough for Diyonysus' approval. Another fun little fact is that Xanthi has one of the largest Greek wine lists and is well worth perusing. It's a different style of wine and I personally think that its the flavour that compliments the food which is the key for Greek varieties.
Fried veal sweetbreads $10.50 were one such dish that went well with the wine we were having. Little bundles of sweetbread crumbed and deep fried. Once again that wedge of lemon on the plate was there to drown those little bad boys. Crispy on the outside and full of soft juicy sweetbread goodness on the inside. My only complaint was that there wasn't more lemon, David had a laugh when i told him this and Gianna was quick to remind me that we were not at my grandparents place. There was no need to drown everything in lemon. Its a Greek mentality I think.
Fried Veal Sweetbreads
The kitchen has been designed to be open to view from the dining room so you can see the hustle and bustle going on as David works his magic with his team. He tells us that after working in the tiny Perrama kitchen in Petersham, he has finally gotten his dream kitchen.
The decor inside the restaurant is really nice. With a large Middle Eastern-esque rug taking up the floor space, drapes running the walls and the feature ceiling and gorgeous lamps. It feels like another world from the super bright and modern interiors of Westfield Sydney. You can definitely soak up the exotic atmosphere here.

Going through the menu it was hard to say no to the Pork Belly Baklava $18. A pretty little parcel was brought forth full of pork goodness. Garnished beautifully with bits of pork crackling, it was seriosuly delicious. The date and pistachio filling works well with the meat and when combined with the date and mastic sauce just made things even better. This was a dish that was so hard to share.
David mentioned that the pastry is handmade, the traditional way - which explains the reason that the buttery and flakey crust is so similar to yia yia's homemade spanakopita.
So what else is there that is hard to say no to? Caramel Baklava ice cream $13.50. Yep. Baklava nut filling sandwiched between vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. So beautiful, there are no words. Its like the ice cream slice that would make any of the Greek goddesses swoon. Make sure you don't share with anyone because it is a desert to indulge in on your own. 
The menu is an absolute cracker, but seeing as it was 3:30 on a Saturday, we thought we would save the big greek banquet for the next visit. We were actually worried that the kitchen would judge us for eating up a storm so early. Xanthi has been open for just under a month, and after this first visit - we have already booked a big banquet for this Saturday night! Lucky for us, its not a epic wait until the next battle!  

Xanthi Bar and Restaurant -
Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Daily from 8am. They serve delicious coffee out the front booths too! (And ouzo from the early morning, if you are that way inclined..looking at you Gianna)

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

You know we are going to pester if you have a quick moment - The Empty Fridge is a Finalist in the food blog category for the 2011 Blogster Awards! How awesome is that? Throw us a "Like" because that's all it takes to show your support. We'll shout you a shot in appreciation one day!

Vote for us here by clicking "like" for The Empty Fridge :


Tina@foodboozeshoes said...

I had lots of the same dishes! But I had ouzo too! First time and loved it!
Adore the room, and the quality of the food is second to none.

K | Citrus and Candy said...

I can't wait for our big banquet! My stomach has been preparing for days for the epic battle. Bring it.

Lau@Corridor Kitchen said...

Looks delish, don't know what I think about restaurants in is shopping centres though. It's illogical, but I just can't bring myself to go to them...

Anonymous said...

I never made it to Perama, will have to visit Xanthi soon, food looks TASTY!

OohLookBel said...

Yum, I'm dying to try Xanthi. I'll have what you had!

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...

Great review're a natural! Can't wait to head over to Xanthi and check it out for myself. Go the Spartans!

Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MissPiggy said...

Glad to hear this place is as good as I'd hoped it would be - can't wait to try it out!

Phuoc'n Delicious said...

OMG! We so excited.. So excited!!! My mouth is watering at being united with the pork belly baklava and caramel baklava again.

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

Yum yum I love veal sweetbreads, and that vertical spit is hella sexy!

Anonymous said...

wow the dining room looks gorgeous, loving those lights! And yay for being a finalist in pedestrian! :)

mademoiselle délicieuse said...

Gianna, warrior princess, definitely has a certain ring to it! Looking forward to battling/feasting with you guys tonight =)

sugarpuffi said...

i like to drown everything in lemon :P

Nic@diningwithastud said...

Cant wait to go!! Missed out on Perama so def need to check out the pork belly baklava! NOM!

Vivian - vxdollface said...

Gosh reading this reminds me of being in Greece, miss it so much~ hehe warrior princess has a nice ring to it!

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