Monday, November 12, 2007

Eat at Miltons

91 Andrianou str., Plaka,
Athens, Greece
Bookings: 210 3249129

Last night having fallen out of a very nice bar called Brettos we were wandering rather aimlessly around the Old Quarter area of Athens called Plaka when we stumbled upon this little restaurant at the end of a row of houses on the corner of a square. With full length glass walls on three sides, all black tables and white leather chairs this looked like our kind of place! Miltons is not a big restaurant but it was pretty full with quite a young trendy crowd so we stood out like sore thumbs. Anyway despite this we were given a table and handed a rather tatty cheap looking menu by one of the uber hip waiters dressed head to toe in startling white clothes.

The menu contained none of the usual Greek staples that I was expecting in this touristy part of town. No moussaka, no souvlakia, no fried calamari, no dolmades; what was going on? The dishes looked French in composition and I was interested to see how things would turn out.

The wine list was again handed to me on a really tatty piece of folded A4 paper and I was rather daunted to see only Greek wines featuring. As I know absolutely nothing about Greek wines I asked for some assistance from one of the waiters and he of course steered me towards the top end of the prices. We settled for a cab-sav that had ‘Chateaux’ in its name but I can assure you that that is where the association with a French wine ended.

We ordered a small sampling of the starters and had brushetta with tomatoes and cheese, a squid and octopus dish with guacamole and grilled halloumi with roasted vegetables. Chaps, it was fantastic. What I really liked was the way they combined quite traditional Greek ingredients with an up-beat, more Italian-Mediterranean taste. The halloumi wasn’t at all salty nor tough, the roasted vegetables (aubergine, courgette, peppers, Judas Ear mushrooms) were covered in a thick sweet balsamic reduction and it was all divine. The squid and octopus were grilled to perfection, still very moist and not at all rubbery, and the guacamole really set it off beautifully. Fantastic, and I was really looking forward to the main courses.

My companion has a beef filet, mushroom sauce with rice and I had a pork filet with French beans dressed with a bacon and tomato sauce.

My pork was outstanding, it had been grilled over a flame, crispy and smoky on the outside and very moist and tasty inside. The beans were a little bland but had a herb / spice combination that I really couldn’t place but which I really liked. The waiter couldn’t help here either and just advised that it was a typical Greek flavouring.

Despite the wine being pretty ropey we did order another and sat back, extremely contented, and watched the comings and goings in the restaurant. This was made a very enjoyable pastime by Maria, the ‘Maitre D’ from Zackinthos, who is a very friendly and extremely attractive girl and who was very attentive and generous to two old farts sitting in the corner. It made our night!

Should you find yourself in Athens I really recommend this restaurant. It isn’t that cheap, certainly when compared to the myriad of tavernas all over Plaka, but the food is very, very good indeed.

Having finally decided that we had overstayed our welcome we stumbled out into the little streets of Plaka and meandered our way to the Grand Bretagne Hotel. Now this is THE hotel in Athens, it is gorgeous. We stopped in and had a night cap at the bar which was filled with the great and the good of Athens society, this place is very special, incredibly sumptuous, ornate, over the top and I loved it!

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