Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Since it opened, the food court on Level 5 of the new Sydney Westfield has been my lunch destination of choice. So I thought it was about time that I gave the restaurant precinct on level 6 a shot. The fractionally small Greek part of me decided that Xanthi would be a good bet.

I'd never been to it's predecessor, Perama, but it was fairly well regarded. I was slightly sceptical though, based on my history of being generally disappointed by the quality of Greek food in Sydney (namely the CBD) that tends to verge on the tedious serving of a mezze platter, followed by slow cooked lamb and ended with baklava.

We kick things off with the delicious moked eggplant dip and a bottle of the respectable Lafkiotis Agionimo. Fried veal sweetbreads arrive too and they're superb: crispy, rich and stupidly more-ish.

Things were going well until the loukanika arrived. That made things go very well. Heavily herbed and spiced grilled sausage, delicious with a squeeze of lemon. I gave up dipping my bread in olive oil and dipped it in the fat that the sausage left behind. Insanely good.

The famous pork belly baklava is the sort of modernised Greek food that should happen in more places. Sweet from the date sauce, flaky filo, supported by the soft pork belly. It's a very nice dish.

Onto a bottle of the Domaine Sigalas Mavrottragano. It's among the most expensive on the (entirely Greek from what I can see) wine list, but with good reason. It's superb. Big fruit and gravel flavours, but with a smooth structure.

Lamb from the spit hits the table moments before our jaws do. The meat is tender, juicy, smokey, um.... delicious. A squeeze of lemon and a bit of tzatsiki and you're in heaven.

We also go for the Greek coleslaw and the tomato and white anchovy salad on the side to add a bit of balance to our diet. They're both very tasty.

The salted bonito arrives late and it's probably the worst possible savoury dish to end on. They're certainly not lying about the salted part, the fish is dredged in it. It's not to any of our tastes, but I could see some salt-fiends digging it.

Desserts are good but don't hit as hard as the savoury courses. Byzantine Ekmek is kind of similar to the BTS at House, but not as enjoyable. It's a pleasant and simple note to end on. Garden of Aphrodite is a stunning dish to look at and has it's strong points, but the taste doesn't quite live up to the look of the plate. Though it went superbly with a bottle of the delicious Samos Vin Doux.

Both desserts are only served with spoons, when forks would assist greatly. It was one of a couple of service missteps that night, but, thankfully, they didn't really detract from it being an enjoyable one.

Despite us going overboard on the food and wine, the bill was extremely reasonable considering how good the everything was. The food was excellent in most places, the menu is overwhelmingly more tempting than most Greek places in the CBD and the Greek-centric wine list is well assembled, good value and well worth exploring. While service had a few minor problems, they kept everything moving well and they've helped with the restaurant's lively, boisterous mood. In short, I can't wait to go back for more.

RATING: Will return to [?]

Xanthi Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


MissPiggy said...

I thinking of giving this place a whirl on the weekend when I'm out shopping "in town"...read so many good things about it.

Vivian - vxdollface said...

mm will keep that in mind about the bonito when i go this sunday!