We went to the OMG Week's Progressive Feast. Here's what happened
Greece has officially arrived to Melbourne, on a plate
Oh My Grek Week (OMGW) kicked off yesterday for its second year, with the much anticipated Progressive Feast.
Monday felt like a balmy Friday last night in spite of the storm, thanks to the OMGW event divided in three dining sessions through George Calomabris’ Flinders Street suite of restaurants.
At 7pm, Neos Kosmos and several more lucky guests arrived at GAZI restaurant to enjoy starters and an appetizer cocktail.
Chris Houseas, pioneer bartender and bar owner of the cocktail bar 42, who has spent most of his life behind some of the most iconic Athenian bars, establishing what is now known as the new era of the Greek bartending prepared and served up ‘Ground Control’. This first specimen, aimed to titillate our tastebuds and awaken our senses was a mix of Lazaridis Methexis Muscat Distillate, Campari, sage, mastiha and gentian root. Houseas’ experience has led to the creation of ‘Bassbreak’, a project with the vision to change the way bartenders work, to a more updated, sophisticated and modern technique. Bassbreak’s proud first product is The Stirrer, which is designed by drawing inspiration from the swirling of a propeller.
Alex Tsiotinis' stifado.
Following the cocktails came a set of imaginative starters accompanied by a palate cleanser, all based on zucchini. Young-gun Chef Polychronis Damalas from Santorini’s Cavo Tagoo surprised us with three different hors d'oeuvres.
Having worked in some of the top restaurants around the world (New York, France, Spain, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Iceland, Greece), Polychronis Damalas has received many awards during his career and he is considered as one of the most creative chefs of his generation. He specializes in Japanese cuisine, with emphasis to the Jap-Greek fusion, and that is exactly what he impressed us with.
First to arrive was a stunning kolokythoanthos (stuffed zucchini flower) on a tile. I’m still struggling to identify the herbs and spices he used for the filling and sauces, to achieve the ultimate balance he presented the guests with. We were all sad we only got one! The kolokythokeftes (kakiage zucchini) that came next made up for it, with a bouquet of minty and dill-infused flavours in the most thinly crisped batter. This was served with a cucumber-y sorbet. Last but not least for the Gazi session, the kolokythopita, zucchini pie- in the form of a gyoza dumpling with feta.
For the mains we were transferred next door, to The Press Club. The staff greeted us with a smile and a refreshing, chilled glass of 2014 Gentilini Robola from Cephalonia. The first dish, the most stunning magiritsa I’ve ever seen; a liquid painting starring prawns, Morten bay bug, mussels, nori, aromatic greens and Greek lettuce by the hands of Gikas Xenakis (see below).
A video posted by NEOS KOSMOS (@neos_kosmos) on
Chef Xenakis is a prominent member of the “New Greek Cuisine” movement and executive chef of the multi award-winning Athenian restaurant Aleria. His philosophy combines modern cooking techniques with his memories of traditional home cooked food, utlising the best and freshest ingredients that the sea and land of Greece has to offer.
A generous taste of the Mitravelas Estate 2012 Nemea Red came just in time for Alex Tsiotinis’ stifado. Executive chef Alexandros Tsiotinis is one of the most acclaimed young chefs in Greece. He has achieved culinary greatness by creating a gastronomic experience through his food, at his Athenian restaurant CTC. In 2015, Alex’s signature dish “Cretan Salad in a Pot” earned him the number one position for the Mediterranean region in the San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year competition.
The reworked stifado he presented yesterday took wagyu beef to the next level, with the help of salsify textures and sweet onions.
Even though we thought we had no room for dessert our final stop with star pastry chef Stelios Parliaros (Sweet Alchemy) hosting and preparing delectable desserts at Press Club – Projects, George’s experimental kitchen, accompanied by perfectly matched cocktail by one of Athens’ finest mixologists was enough to cave in.
With a long and acclaimed career, Stelios Parliaros is acknowledged as one of the greatest pastry chefs in Greece and an undisputed master of creativity. He is best known in his native country as the founder and creative mind behind Sweet Alchemy, one of the most famous pastry shops in Athens, with locations in Kolonaki and in Kifisia. He is also the star of the well-known television program ‘Sweet Alchemy’, one of the longest running and beloved cooking shows in Greece.
For this first OMGW dinner, the Sweet Alchemist mustered up a delicious karythopita, aka moist nut cake, with yoghurt cream and honey-based fig compote and mastiha. Chris Houseas once again delivered with the best dessert cocktail ‘Intimacy’, featuring anis, chocolate and lemon.
Words are simply not enough and this was only day one.
Stelios Parliaros' karythopita.
Today, The Press Club welcomes a different combination of Calombaris’ esteemed guests for a five-course experience. The event is called ‘A night in Athens’ for a good reason as Greece’s top chefs take over The Press Club kitchen to recreate an experience of the Greek capital’s acclaimed contemporary dining scene. Among the all-star line-up: acclaimed chefs Georgianna Haliakaki and Nick Roussos from two Michelin star restaurant Funky Gourmet, the highly regarded Christoforos Peskias from hip bar and eatery Balthazar, Gikas Xenakis from Aleria, Alex Tisotinis from the famed CTC Restaurant and Athen’s most celebrated pastry chef, Stelios Parliaros. Accompaning this cosmopolitan feast, guests will be treated to specially designed cocktails created by mixologist Chris Houseas.
- Register Now
- The Greek National Guard touched by their Australian welcome
- The Hellenic Club brings the Greek Presidential Guard to Sydney
- Living in Erdogan's Turkey
- The husband and wife team offering catering like no other
- Dental tourism on the rise in Greece
- To Argos, Nafplio and Tolos they came
- WikiLeaks – in the face of betrayals they remain heroic, guarding a Thermopylae
- Hellenic community marches with the Anzacs who fought in Greece and Crete
- Eat like the Greeks
- 'Never give up on your child'
- Greek Orthodox Bishop calls on Erdogan to denounce Islam and be baptised
- A Greek fish & chippery tops Herald Sun's crème de la crème
- The world's most impressive building will be Greek
- Travelling to Greece? New Corinth-Patra highway finally open
- The nine Evzones in Australia next week
- The 19 best Greek islands according to international travel experts
- ISIS gunmen open fire at the St. Catherine monastery in Egypt
- 18 Greek establishments amongst the best restaurants in Australia
- Dimitrious Gargasoulas says he is 'the saviour'
- The Greek National Guard touched by their Australian welcome
A short story by Dean Kalimniou.
Could mass migration be a potential catalyst to forging a common European identity?
The soldiers of the Greek Presidential Guard will arrive on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of Anzac Day and the 76th anniversary of the Battle of Crete.
A pioneer of Australian Greek welfare services, staunch advocate for wider migrant services, and legendary jazz musician, Nick Polites tells his life story in his own words.
Dean Kalimniou reflects on the work of Lucian of Samosata; the man that taught us to reach for the stars.
25-year-old Evzonas Konstantinos Lousias speaks to Neos Kosmos.
There have been tens of thousands of casualties to 'coalition' strikes – most of these casualties are to American bombs.
Olive and Thyme Catering has filled a gap in the market, offering handmade food from traditional recipes that are packed with flavour, and aesthetically pleasing spreads.
The Forum welcomed representatives from various countries to discuss a number of intellectual, traditional, historical, and cultural issues.
The establishment is turning out to be the cosmopolitan venue anticipated, becoming a pin on the map that is attracting thousands.
While in Greece, historian Jim Claven reflects on the Anzacs who showed bravery as volunteers from Australia and New Zealand in 1941.
Inspired by Greek Australians, SA's first autism-specific school sees its numbers double in less than a year.
The victory on Sunday saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan granted sweeping new powers.
Next month the 17-year-old embarks on a 19-day-tour of Brazil as part of the AFA Australian youth futsal squad.
The alleged Bourke street murderer pleaded not guilty and told the court "the Muslim faith is the correct faith according to the whole world".
City coach Michael Valkanis will be hoping this won't be his last final as coach of the club.
Last Saturday also saw the 2016 Premiership Flag unveiled.
Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis says the company's move will create more jobs for Australia's tech sector.