MEDITERRANEAN SOUL

A sky-blue door and windows contrastingly paired with a white clay house is an empirical reminder of Santorini Island and its Mediterranean breeze.

However, this setting is not on the coast of Oia, yet at the heart of Bangkok; here is AVRA Greek Restaurant. Walking past an inviting outdoor terrace, you will find yourself submerged in an ambience of Greek taverna: an enticing bar filled with drinks, cosy wooden tables blanketed with checked cloths, hanging earthen pots and straw, and whitewashed stone walls decorated with adorable paintings.

You’ll probably be amazed by the names on the menu but native Chef Konstantinos, who has worked many years in different Greek kitchens, is pleased to give you an explanation. Begin with a familiar dish like traditional ‘Greek Salad’ in which ripe aromatic tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, rings of onions, olives and cubed feta are mixed together and sprinkled with olive oil. Besides, the well-known Caesar Salad and a green one with goat cheese could be your alternatives.

Mezedes is your next move. Also known as Meze, this selection of small dishes is often served to accompany alcoholic drinks at the beginning of meals. The kind of Meze depends on the location: seafood by the sea or cheese in the mountains, for example. AVRA, instead, offers ‘Variety of Mezedes’ to introduce you to Greek appetisers. The plate is composed of ‘Kolokythotyropita’ – a crispy pie stuffed with zucchini, leek, dill and feta cheese, ‘Kaserokroketes’ – yellow cheese croquettes covered with almond crumbs, ‘Melitzanobourekakia’ – eggplant stuffed with minced beef, cheeses and paprika spread, and ‘Kotopita’ – a crispy pie stuffed with chicken, mushrooms and cheeses.

Among many main courses, ‘Arnaki Kleftiko’ seems to be a recommended choice. Lamb cubes are cooked with vegetables and white wine, then covered with sheet of puff pastry. According to the chef, you should eat it immediately upon serving to experience a crispy sheet complemented with a mellow lamb. ‘Mousakas’ is another dish you should not skip: layered minced beef with potatoes, eggplant, zucchini and cream sauce with cheese. This hearty casserole probably looks like lasagne yet tastes a bit sweeter, thanks to the juicy eggplant, which makes a balance with the savoury beef. Minced mushroom becomes a perfect replacement if you want to change it to a veggie dish.

Wrap up your meal with ‘Baklava’ – a traditional Greek dessert made of layers of crispy, golden brown filo pastry, filled with chopped nuts and garnished with honey syrup, served with refreshing ice-cream. This is a typical dessert served in Greek kitchens since ancient times, and traditionally made with 33 dough layers, referring to the years of Christ’s life. For your full experience, include a glass of ouzo in your meal. An anise-flavoured spirit is sometimes named as Greece’s national drink as it is closely linked to Greek culture. Ouzo is customarily served neat, without ice. Iced water is added to dilute the strength causing the liquid to turn an opaque, milky white. With 40% alcohol content, Ouzo owns a potent and fiery flavour but also leaves a distinct liquorice taste on your buds. This is how Greeks deal with their meals.

Let’s have some lunch or dinner at AVRA Greek Restaurant to own your Mediterranean experience. The sky-blue door is open every day, except Monday, to welcome you.


AVRA GREEK RESTAURANT
T: +66 (0) 2258 2877
W: avrabkk.com

Text by Thanisara Ruangdej
Photos by Pimlada Thanachoknitiwat
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