Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spondi, Athens

Spondi, 3-30-14, 143 euro/7 courses, French, Michelin 2-star

I booked a trip to Greece. As I always liked to combine travelling with fine dining, I identified Spondi would be the best choice in Greece followed by Steirereck (Vienna), Pakta (Barcelona), El Celler de Can Roca (Girona), Sant Pau (San Pol de Mar) and Enoteca (Barcelona). Spondi is a Michelin 2-star restaurant located near by the marble stadium in a quiet narrow street. I ordered a 7-course tasting menu.

Amuse Bouche
1) Goat cheese with truffle coated with finely caramelized thin pieces of bacon. It was a great piece of work, goat cheese was not the strong type and caramelized bacon was delicious.
2) Foie gras mousse flavored with green apple and cardamon, and coated with chocolate. It was with mild foie gras flavor so that to keep the balance with chocolate.
3) Smoked eel with chive and cauliflower cream. The smoked flavor was done by the house; it was as good as the smoked flavor that I have in the Nordic countries last year.

Spondi baked excellent brown croissant made of white flour and rye flour. They were very light and flaky.

1st Course – Foie Gras: Terrine and Mousse/Pear/Apple/Raspberry/Vanilla
Foie gras mousse was shaped in a roll and coated with red wine and port jelly coating. It was served with various flavor of sauce: caramelized apple, green apple, pear, strawberry, vanilla and blueberry. On top of the roll, there were thin caramel pieces and green apple slices. The flavor was more intense then what served in Amuse Bouche. It was also well balanced and scrumptious.

2nd Course – Langoustine: Tartar/Citrus Fruits/Horseradish “Remoulade” /Celery/Grapefruit
It was langoustine tartar on celery root and horseradish salad, served with grapefruit jelly, marshmallow, grapefruit ice and caramel sauce. There were two pieces of thin bread wafer placed on top of tartar for decoration. Langoustine was the prime quality and grapefruit jelly and grapefruit ice certainly enhanced the taste.

3rd Course – Sea Bass: Artichoke/Young Cabbage/Oyster/Shrimps Powder
Sea bass was done by slow-cook process; it had a very tender texture different from the normal cooking process. Slow-cook process renders less variance between outer layer and inner layer, and more tender. I confirmed my thoughts with the manager. On the side of fish, there was a small cute piece of oyster coated by oyster jelly, and some local vegetables and artichoke. The highlight of this dish was the powdered shrimps and nori coated on one side of fish. Sauce was made out of fish and oyster. It delivered such a wonderful and well-balanced taste.

4th Course – Milk Fed Lamb: in Herb Cocotte/Candied Lemon Paste/Polenta of Eggplant-Coriander Smoked Garlic Ball
I requested for substitute of Lamb for Duck in the original menu. I definitely made the right decision. My server brought out a large bowl covered with a bowlful of rosemary. Inside this bowl, breast of lamb with rib and a thin layer of fat to keep the juice, was coated with a layer of puréed candied lemon peels. On the side, roasted and mashed eggplants were stuffed in a fillo roll with onion slices on top. In addition, there were some adorable puffs filled with roasted garlic, milk and cheese. They were so good; I can easily munch a dozen of these puff balls. The way this course was prepared reminded me of L’Epicure in Paris. It also prepared excellent lamb with candied lemon peel and candied lemon peel sauce. I inquired my server whether Spondi has a French chef or Greek chef. He informed me that Spondi has had L’Epicure’s chef Eric Frechon as consultant chef. No wonder, there were similar finger marks in Spondi.

5th Course – Cheese
I was very happy when I found out Spondi also had 36 Comte in the cheese trolley. In addition, I also had Charolette goat cheese, wheel, Beaufort, and Tend Morin as suggested by the server.

Palate Cleanser - Green Apple and Orange Sorbet and Marshmallow

Desert 1 – Clementine Sorbet/Caramelized Pecan Nut/ Rum Raisin
This course was comprised of one scoop of Clementine Sorbet and one scoop of Chestnut ice cream with Chantilly and rum raisin. They were all very refreshing.

Desert 2 – Chocolate Mousse: Raspberry/Vanilla
The texture of this desert is a bit firmer than mousse, but still delicious. It was served with Raspberry sorbet with rosemary flavor. It was the 1st time that I ever had raspberry sorbet with rosemary, but I must say that I fell in love with it. The manager was kind enough to provide me with a 2nd serving. I certainly enjoyed it.

Petit Four – Lemon Tart, Chocolate Macaroon, Almond Cookies
They were all too good to resist even though I was full.

According to what my server informed me, Spondi meant the ancient process of serving wine and food to gods and goddesses. At present, regardless you are a human or a god, you would still be well-served at Spondi.

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