So. Saturday = shopping + eating out.
This is the equation I've been following lately, and it's a winner.
Working from first principles, this Saturday started with a visit to Westfield Bondi Junction to look for a cat bowl. This was brought about because I accidentally broke Tabitha cat's previous bowl. I hadn't visited WBJ for a while, and was disappointed to find that one of its two pet stores had since closed. Fortunately found a reasonable-looking cat bowl at the backup pet store. Tabitha is pleased.
Fast forward to the 'eating out', please? OK. Trained it back to Westfield Sydney for a late lunch at Xanthi. Not having had the delight of eating at its previous incarnation (Perama at Petersham), and having salivatingly read about other bloggers' visits there, this was something I was looking forward to.
Xanthi is open all day (from 8am) and it's the perfect place for a civilised coffee, snack or full meal after the exhaustion of looking for pet supplies. We arrived just after 3pm, and there was plenty of room, so we chose a table at one of the booths - seats are covered in colourful woven coverings.
Onto the food - we chose several Ouzomezedakia (small shared plates, like tapas), and a well-known main.
Light Greek beer - Craft Red Pale Ale ($10) - wonderfully light accompaniment to the food.
Tarama dip ($7) - best tarama ever. Normally, I don't like it, but this runs several rings around the supermarket stuff. Light and tangy, comes with seed-encrusted crunchy toast.
Vine dolmathes ($9) - served warm, filled with vegetable rice. Gorgeous.
Herbed skordalia croquettes ($7.50) - scented with mint and dill, with a tasty mayo dressing. These have to be some of the lightest croquettes around.
Fried school prawns ($9) - these tasted sweet due to the honey (and fish sauce!) in the dressing. You have to be careful when chewing these because you eat the prawns whole, and there can be some sharp bits from the head and shells. It's not hard to polish off a bowl of these, though, especially with a beer on the side.
Pork belly baklava ($18) - this is an interpretation of the famous dish from Perama. The hand-rolled filo pastry would be fantastic on its own, but here it's rolled around shredded pork belly and dates and pistachios. The pork was a little dry but helped by the mastic sauce; also, my bit of pork crackling was too chewy (though the other piece was okay).
To finish, coffee ($3 each).
Dessert was Garden of Aphrodite ($15) - sheep's milk pudding beautifully decorated with sugared rose petals, yellow beetroot, mandarin, dark chocolate, ouzo meringue (just like pop rocks!) with raspberry and beetroot puree. So pretty. The pudding tasted pretty amazing, too, very creamy.
The remnants of a great lunch.
Chef prepares our pork belly baklava in the open kitchen.
When the curtains are drawn back, the restaurant is open to the levels downstairs.
Entrance to Xanthi. There are windows into the kitchen area, so you can see what's going on. There's also a coffee servery outside, with Greek coffee preparation paraphernalia.
Chef David Tsirekas takes a breather before the evening rush.
Greek restaurants in Sydney are a rarity, so I'm ecstatic that Xanthi has opened in a central place (to us, at least) for everyone to enjoy. I love the idea of small sharing plates as well as having the option of a 3-course meal. Xanthi has the new Chat Thai and Spiedo as next-door neighbours, as well as early tenant, Sky Phoenix, so level 6 of Westfield is shaping up to be a cut above the admittedly decent foodcourt on level 5.
Oh, and JB HiFi is also on this level, so when you roll out of the resto after your fabulous meal, you can drop into JB and caress the flat-screen TVs, PCs and cameras. That's what I did!
Xanthi is on Level 6, Westfield Sydney, Pitt St, Sydney
ph: 9232 8535