17 May 2009

KUZINA, Athens, Greece

It is quite unavoidable to identify Greek cuisine with fresh and seasonal products such as, among others, red tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, lamb, feta cheese, olive oil, olives, fish, octopus, chicken, lentils, white beans, and garlic, peppers, lemon and herbs to season. By the way, Greeks are the world’s largest consumers of olive oil, around 30 litres per capita annually, and those who eat more cheese too!

With such a basis, it is not strange that the country gave birth to dishes such as ‘souvlakis’, ‘moussaka’ and ‘stiphado’.

In addition to this, the cradle of the Western civilisation is a crossroads between continental Europe, the Mediterranean and Minor Asia, and has influences from all these places, even if it has successfully managed to keep its own Greek style.

Bearing this in mind, I wondered whether it would be possible to find a real Greek fusion restaurant that combined the best of the Mediterranean creativity while keeping it genuinely Greek and the answer was ‘Kuzina’, a restaurant that opened its doors in 2006 in a pedestrian zone in Thissio, a colourful and lively neighbourhood with views over the Acropolis and the Hephaestus temple, near Monastiraki, in Athens, Greece.

‘Kuzina’, chef’s Aris Tsanaklidis awarded restaurant, takes the pillars of the Greek cuisine and transform them into something provocative and unexpected but tasty, as the ‘calamari with ginger, sesame oil and chili’, the ‘yellowfin tuna with thyme and Mediterranean herbs crust’, ‘the sikomaida fig tart marinated in anise seeds and ouzo, wrapped with walnuts leaves’, ‘the salad of watermelon with feta cheese, rocket greens and balsamic vinegar sauce’ and other treats.

At ‘Kuzina’, the athmosphere is contemporary, and the decoration combines modern and traditional elements with a predominant white on the walls and wooden furniture. The multi-shelved bar is quite impressing, the staff is kind and helpful, and there is a terrace for private events (‘Tarazza’) and an art gallery (‘Porta’).

There is another ‘Kuzina’ in the Cycladic island of Mykonos.

Rating: 7/10

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