Orange explosion (source: www.funkygourmet.com)
We may be a country in the midst austerity, but Greece's capital still boasts a range of fine dining options. Three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being exposed to the taste menu at Funky Gourmet, the culinary hot spot in Athens. Nestled in a quiet side street in the Keramikos neighborhood in the city centre, Funky Gourmet proudly harbors two Michelin stars. Yes, folks. Not one, but two big bad-ass stars. In a city riddled with tavernas, Funky is an outlier. And a good outlier. The chefs, Georgianna Hiliadaki and Nick Roussos, are young, hip, and have had training in Manhattan. They also happen to co-own the restaurant with another partner.
The restaurant itself is housed within a beautifully charming neoclassical building, whose interior is minimalist black and grey. I tend to be critical of lighting in most restaurants, and the . I loved the design, despite the steep staircase where by the end of the evening, I almost lost my footing. Too much lovely wine courtesy of Domaine Gerovasiliou.
The dishes are whimsical, delicious, playful, with careful thought given to taste, texture, presentation, and the use of Greek elements. I keep forgetting we actually have truffles, and very good ones mind you, from the Greek mainland.
The menu procession as follows:
"Salsify in the soil". Greek bottarga with white chocolate, a crispy taco...
"Pastitsio", which felt in fact like a little cannelloni, but was beautifully flavourful and evoked memories of my childhood.
A "picnic", where they set up a red plaid napkin, followed by a BLT sandwich, the most moist meatball I ever tasted, some nuts, and a boiled egg.
Coulouri bread and cretan buttermilk, paired with Fresh Chios Beer
Topinambour ‘a la polita’
"Kakavia" fish soup Shabu, which was splendid.
Langoustine (it's a mini-lobster of sorts for those who are not familiar, which are very common in Greek cuisine) from the island of Chios.
A green risotto of snails entitled "earthy aromas". Brilliant, original, and delicious.
To clean the palate, one imagines some sorbet of lemon and ginger. Not here. We were presented with a sorbet ball of 'xoriatiki' (which translates to 'Greek salad'). The immediate taste was cucumber, followed by tomato, and a residual aftertaste of oregano. A very creative twist.
The Silence of the Lamb. A beautiful piece of lamb. The brain to be precise. Last time I had brain was in Mykonos during the feast of 'hirosfagia' in November of last year, but that was from a 100kg pig. It was
The feta cheese that wished to be a beetroot. It was a truffle of sorts, a ball of feta encapsulated by a gel of beetroot. Earthy and sweet in flavour. Lovely, just lovely.
Some dish I can't recall. I was starting to get light-headed by the copious amount of wine.
Chocolate soup. Enough said.
Orange explosion. This was the final display of culinary drama for the evening, with a bowl filled with real orange leaves, some chocolate truffles Waiters proceeded to fill the bowl with dry ice, after which we were allowed to actually have a hold of the chocolate delights. The sensation of a cold truffle exploding with the wondrous flavour of orange chocolate in one's mouth shall not be forgotten. Never. Ever.
In closing, when you are next in Athens, try to pay a visit if you don't happen to be on a strict budget.
Address: 13 Paramythias St and Salaminos, Keramikos 104 35 Αθηνα / Athína