Each dish, although grounded in history was lifted up to a status I could not have imagined for Greek cuisine. Greece was brought to celebratory life in a culinary evolution of the chef’s elevated vision for the culture and history.
I always thought going out with a large group to an upscale restaurant does not allow one to truly give attention to the plates being served. I, as an avid food lover, like to have an intimate one-on-one relationship with my forays to restaurants. Not the case visiting SIMUL gastronomic situ, an Athens restaurant that has elevated Greek cuisine to a place of kneeling at the altar. For the first time, I can truly say I have enjoyed Greek cuisine that has left French and Italian cuisines in its shadow.
Each dish, although grounded in history was lifted up to a status I could not have imagined for Greek cuisine. Locally sourced seasonal ingredients that are cooked up in everyday kitchens all around Greece were brought to celebratory life in an intricate evolution of the chef’s elevated vision for the culture and history.
Beetroot Salad came on a smooth chocolaty-carob sauce revelling in marital bliss with roughly crushed toasted walnuts. Added to this were large-dice earthy beets, and sweet firm carrots, dollops of sharp gorgonzola, and a refreshing tangerine sorbet – a veritable culinary honeymoon for the diner.
Shrimp Tartare was reminiscent of an elevated ceviche, surprising that I could taste each seafood individually – the shrimp, pickled mussels, cuttlefish ink, and fish roe – and yet they mingled so well together that at times they tasted like one interesting seafood holding all the flavours of the sea in a salty-tangy-umami nibble.
The triumphant arrival of a crisply coated Ibérico Pork Chop on a silken mustard cream – not flamboyantly dressed but well presented in contrasting colours and textures, a summery feast for the eyes but a hearty winter’s dish. Beneath the crispy tomato and herbs coat, past the umami flavours of prosciutto, laid the most flavourful pork chop, thick and firm, yet moist and tender, each bite a pleasure to savour.
There’s another elevated rendition of a classic Greek dish, The Rooster (not pictured) for example, known throughout the country as a Sunday homecooked dinner, was whittled away and glammed up to an ethereal piece of edible art. Herby-crisply roasted skin of rooster over tender meat, on a bed of ancient frumenty that was slow simmered in dark red wine, and finished with a richly flavoured cheese from the hills of Naxos, and the perfect finish? precisely placed tiny leaves of minty herbs.
Desserts were divine creations, each a unique and brilliant world of its own. The Pineapple Carpaccio , for example, tells the tale of a world of exotic travel, a story of how an explorer may have stumbled upon spices and strange fruits and, out of necessity, combined them with traditional staples like Greek cheese, and wild sage.
There are chefs that can master meat, some fish, and others desserts, but this chef has mastered all the ingredients with skill, knowledge and, most definably, passion for the culture. This is a much-anticipated evolution of Greek cuisine, and this chef is a true leader when it comes to creating harmony between bold staples, fragrant herbs, and exotic spices. The chef also masters the art of textures and flavours on each dish, balancing richness with barely-there froths and satiny mousses, silken sauces with nutty crunches, and firm vegetables in softly cooked grains. Each dish is meticulously created to evoke visual and gustatory stimuli. Each plate was a gastronomic situ masterpiece indeed at SIMUL.
The service was impeccable in the true sense of the word. The two gentlemen servers, masters in their own right, were expert sommeliers, and as knowledgeable about each dish as the chefs. They were professional and completely in tuned with the slightest desire of the group. I really appreciated the fact that as one described the dishes in the Greek language to the others, the next did the same for me in English.
Again, Greek hospitality at its finest. Let no one go unnoticed and unappreciated, that is one of the joys of mingling in the Greek culture.
Décor is simple, simple elegant, classy without the bells and whistles. Thoughtfully deliberate so as not to distract from the artistic masterpieces placed upon the plates.
You must try:
Beetroot Salad – Shrimp Tartare – Lamb Carpaccio
Chickpeas – Grilled Squid
Ibérico Pork Chop – Rooster
Pineapple Carpaccio – Black Forest Cake
Address:Ipsilantou 63, Athina 115 21
Contact tel: 21 0722 4737