Food is the most primitive form of comfort. ~ Sheila Graham ~
Olive bar and Kitchen is known for their excellent food and great hospitality. They are also known for introducing some of the best chefs and their culinary skills. This time they celebrated Greek Food Festival for 10 days in association with Greek Embassy which is “My Greek Kouzina (that’s Greek for Kitchen) and we witnessed great food prepared by Chef Paris Kostopoulos, who is currently the Executive chef at Buca Beach Resort in Messinias and prior to that he was at El Celler De Can Roca ***Michelin (top restaurant of World’s 50 best restaurant in 2013).
It was an opening diner night at Olive bar, Mehrauli and weather was just perfect to host such an event. H.E. Loannis Raptakis the ambassador of Greece was present for the occasion. We were invited to taste, food and wine from Greece. Chef Paris created special menu for the guest on the night, which was according to him “simple food and high on nutrition”.
Greek cuisine is Mediterranean cuisine and known for its simplicity and focus on nutrition. Olive oil is their main cooking oil and is produced in various regions of Greece. They use lot of vegetables, herbs and lots of meat, fish, lamb as well as beef too. They also use lot of wild herbs that comes from mountains and only local residents know which herbs are good to eat and what is good for health.
Kalamata is one of the popular varieties of olive in Greece and widely used globally also.
I got chance to interact with Chef Paris at the Greek Embassy, next day, where we discussed a lot about culture, food and different interests and other interesting things on both the countries. He shared that they use lots of fresh seasonal vegetables and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) which according to him is really good for health. More than 250 variety of syrups, majority with tomato can be used with any vegetables.
According to Wikipedia “Greek cuisine uses some flavorings more often than other Mediterranean cuisines do, namely: oregano, mint, garlic, onion, dill and bay laurel leaves. Other common herbs and spices include basil, thyme and fennel seed. Persillade is also used as a garnish on some dishes. Many Greek recipes, especially in the northern parts of the country, use “sweet” spices in combination with meat, for example cinnamon and cloves in stews.”
We started our diner with White Wine Moschofilero made from aromatic white grapes from Peloponnese region of Greece which traditionally makes dry and bold wine with lots of spice and perfumes. Greek salad made of sliced tomato, feta cheese, onion and Kalamata olives on the bed of flacky crispy bread, was a great salad to start with. Beef gyros is classical Greek dish where meats are grilled in tall vertical spit and served with pita bread , sliced onion and tzatziki sauce. For me dish of the day was Slow Cooked Lamb Fillet served with glazed baby beetroots, baked potatoes, and lemon purée and feta cheese sauce. Lamb was cooked to perfection and the flavor of meat blended perfectly with lemon puree and feta cheese. Chicken Souvlaki and Spinach and Feta Börek served with tzatziki were exceptionally good. We finished our meal with Pasta Philo Mille Feuille Yogurt Mousse with honey walnuts and figs in brandy syrup of kalamata olives, which to me was of the lightest desert, I have ever had.
We promised Chef Paris that next time, whenever he will have plans to visit India, we will take him around for savoring some of the street food and also show him the spice market of Delhi.