The tasting table at Estiatorio Milos Athens restaurant provides no hiding place from the open kitchen embracing it. Just as well really as the procession of sumptuous food and wines coming from the busy brigade all around us is relentless.
Estiatorio Milos Restaurant, on the lower level of the Athens Hilton, is the Greek incarnation of Costas Spiliadis’ restaurant dynasty alongside his other eateries in New York, Montreal, Las Vegas and soon to open Miami. Greek born Spiliadis’ mantra of ‘fresh product and simplicity’ is played out with an array of delicious Greek inspired dishes that celebrate taste over design so perfectly, you wonder why anyone would need bother cooking food any other way. It has been an obsession of his since he opened his first restaurant in Montreal over thirty years ago.
There can be no finer stage to play out the flavours and images of Greece than in Athens itself and Milos under the intense watch of head chef Periklis Koskinas and manager Richardos Lellas ensures the Spiliadis strategy is followed to the letter, even down to the fresh produce proudly displayed like Grecian art forms as you walk in.
Electing to leave the menu to chef Perikilis and watching as his brigade literally sprang to life all around us, we were treated to simply stunning opening foray. A duo of carpaccios; Seabass with yuzu lime with dill and beef with kopanisti cheese., smoked eel with goats cheese oregano and olive oil served alongside something of a Milos speciality – a pile of paper thin fried zucchini and eggplant with some tzatziki hidden underneath, a trio of greek sausages and homemade mustard and of course some traditional cheese and spinach pies. As if all this was not enough for us, a spectacular tomato and feta cheese salad arrived and believe me really good Greek tomatoes are hard to beat anywhere.
Experiencing all this culinary wonderment and then seeing our next courses being prepared as we ate, left me with a feeling of both dread and anticipation. I suppose there is a strategy you should follow at times like this, pacing yourself to fully appreciate what’s to follow, but let’s just say our carefully laid plans were already in tatters.
Grouper with orzo, spring onions and dill, baby goat with chorta (wild mountain greens) and boiled potatoes and Black Angus rib eye followed unrelenting.
Suddenly, the kitchen became strangely quiet. All movement ceased. It was like a message to us ‘Ok that’s it. That’s all I’ve got to give’ whilst we on the other hand were searching for oxygen and the energy to even speak.
This was simply genius food, accompanied by Greek wines that flew in the face of non believers. Chardonnay and Cabernet from Domaine Katsaros and a Malagouza from Domaine Gerovassiliou to name but a few excellent examples.
It might also surprise you this family style feast works out at around €80 a head, something of a miracle considering Greece’s current economic travails.
Milos is a glowing example of Spiliadis’ determination to blend the very best ingredients with traditional simple Greek recipes and it’s a perfect combination.