If you’re lucky enough to be having dinner at Point α, on the rooftop of the Herodeion Hotel in Koukaki, you won’t need to look hard- you’re smack across from the Parthenon, close enough, Katia our hostess says, that every element of the restaurant’s construction and decor had to be approved by the minister of culture (the Acropolis Museum is even closer- you can make out the rippling muscles of the backs of the marbles.) It makes sense- the place basically feels like an extension of the Parthenon.
But we are not here for a history lesson; our happy group of friends – Travel Bloggers Greece – are here to have a good time- a distinctly Greek good time. Charming barmen make cocktails with charming names (I had the Act I Drama, topped with a cevice tapas I would have ordered for dinner), the sky turns pink, and- just as the Parthenon lights up- you clink glasses with your friends, several times.
Playful, avant garde cuisine
Appetizers start arriving- Avant garde, playful de-constructions of the essentials of Greekness. The first thing that arrives is a centerpiece- olive branches by a jeweler. But the olives are not metal- they look almost velvety. “Take one” Jenny says. It’s not velvet- it’s frost! I slip it into my mouth and a layer of green olive oil sorbet coats my mouth, then there’s a rich, savory olive ice cream I enjoy for a moment longer. It’s served with rustic whole wheat bread, like you would have if you were eating under a plane tree at your aunt’s house if your aunt were from a village in Crete with a wood burning oven. Not such a fanciful analogy- the team of two chefs are from Crete- for all the fantasy, there is also a simple, beautiful truth.
Then Loukumades- usually a sweet, honey syrup soaked thing- these were crisp and hot and filled with fresh cheese- tangy and savory, with a hint of honey for balance. Another dish was an interpretation of Imam Biyaldi- eggplant stuffed with onions simmered in tomato- a garden dish.
Ours comes coated in delicious black “dirt”, with the gardener’s footprints crossing the plate.
We were there on the full moon. I realize you can see the moon from everywhere, but it looks fatter and more golden from Athens. We’re all bloggers, so half of the fun is photographing everything before we drink it/eat it/take it in-
We lingered over the main courses, sharing everything, the king fish a great favorite, and everything wonderful. Where the appetizers are playful, the main courses – equally inventive- are a little more serious, classical.
Katia came to see if any of us needed a pashmina in the evening breeze. She also has a store of fans for a heat wave. Such thoughtfulness! I’ve never felt more coddled. In the spirit of the best Mediterranean hospitality, Point a, stunning as it is, is not about impressing at all- it’s about enjoying the beauty of the moment.