Funky Gourmet Restaurant in Athens

Trip Start Apr 24, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Greece  , Attica,
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

An Artistic Approach, Advanced Tasty Techniques –A Real Challenge!

Through the many years of traveling and after visiting more than 37 countries, I have learnt to appreciate good food. I have become a food travel enthusiast and a good restaurant critic with much taste and experience. You see, with experience comes confidence. Through traveling I seek out and sample all cuisines no matter how weird some are.

The Funky Gourmet is not like other gourmet or typical Greek restaurants –in reality it is a restaurant at home. It cannot even be described as molecular cuisine. The chefs here express their creativity and feelings through the kitchen by using advanced techniques with an artistic approach to food.

In molecular cuisine one experiences a scientific approach while at the Funky Gourmet the Taste has the First role, followed by a nice presentation.

The Restaurant is in a pedestrian area in Keramikos and it is advisable to have the phone number handy in case you find some difficulty. There are theatres and art galleries in short proximity but still if you don't have your own car and it is late after midnight it is better to leave by taxi. Argyro called a taxi for us and it showed up in 3 minutes. Don’t expect to see a sign with the name on, however you will instantly recognize it. It is a corner white-washed neoclassical building and it is exactly as it shows on the website.

We are made welcomed by the owner Mrs. Argyro Hiliadaki, and hand in our coats to be kept at the cloak-room. The minimalistic architectural style of the interior is of high aesthetics. The marble floor and art deco, the wood-paneled bar ….all these create a warm and chic ambience. The private dining room on the ground floor can accommodate up to 14 people and it is ideal for business lunches and dinners. In this case depending on the event the chefs consult with the Company or the customer and collaborate for the menu. The Funky Gourmet team offers cooking in the kitchen of your home if you only invite them.

We come to the second floor via a spiral wooden staircase that leads us to a nice dining area in a modern glass-enclosed space. It is not that big but it can accommodate up to 30 people. (I don’t recommend coming here with children). The restaurant has dim light  -lit by unique lighting fixtures and there are several works of contemporary art on the walls. The frontispiece of the neighboring neoclassical building can be seen through the glass windows and it adds to the beauty and ambience of the interior as if it is part of the décor.

The Big Degustation Menu costs 115 euros and 163 with wine pairing per person, while the Small Degustation Menu is at 85 and 128 euros with wine pairing. Have in mind that both menus are indicative and subject to changes.

There is no a la carte menu where you can pick what you want but as a critic I asked for different plates to check and rate the restaurant.

Well, what I had was simply incredible! It was fun to be there and I had a feeling that I was taking part in a game that kept surprising me from the very beginning to the end. I believe unless you come here to experience all this ritual flow of the menu you cannot totally understand it. There is a playful atmosphere and the way each dish is presented (we had an amazing lady called Anna) and in seconds Mr. Klearhos Kanellakis –the sommelier who happens to be a professional, followed each time we had something different to pour a different kind of wine and explain the difference of the flavour. The tannins in red wine find a match in the proteins of meat and there are many vigorous white wines ideal for specific food. The heavier the red meat, the more intense the red wine will be. It was something like playing with our senses the time there. (Reservation is needed)

Because the food is so unique I recommend that you have a look on the menu on the website before coming here to get an idea of what to expect…although the feeling is totally different believe me and it is an experience you will never forget. You may be having for instance a Greek salad, cheese-cake (tyropita) or souvlaki but it is not in the way you imagine it. Several dishes are inspired by traditional Greek cuisine with New Twists of molecular cuisine.

We started with the Mai Tai, Apple Martini, Mohito and the Mastic presentation and it is where the magic starts!

We accompanied the above with Brut Sparkling wine from the Tselepos Estate.

We had Kolokythakia gemista and the Pasta presentation with basil pesto…and we had to cook it ourselves! You feel as if you are playing with your children –the pots and pans and kitchen utensils have the size of toys.  Everything was delicious, and these were accompanied with a Sauvinon Blanc 2010 wine of the Errazuriz Estate. If not mistaken it comes from Chilly. The nose showed lemon with fresh cut grass, minerals and a bit of butteriness. On the palate, this was mouth-filling, a lingering finish and an awesome value.

The "picnic" hour…what a treat! An olive tree comes first …the olives are arranged in chocolate. We have to loosen them gently from the tree, put them in the mouth and brake the chocolate shell against the palate with the tongue. Immediately the liquid disperses and…this is where the surprise comes. Can this be chocolate or is it a real olive?

Then it is the tiny picnic basket with the tiny crispy baguettes and the little gingham tablecloth. The platter had everything, the presentation beyond any imagination! We placed everything on the “table cloth” and it was indeed as if suddenly we became children and we were enjoying our meal in the countryside out on a field! I don’t want to describe everything not to spoil the surprise. We accompanied our picnic with a dry rose wine (Tempranillo) from Pavlides Estate. It had a delicate aroma of berries from what I can remember and in the mouth the alcohol is balanced by the acidity giving it the proper sweetness and a long finish of ripe fruit and caramel.

The theme now is the Greek Tavern so we have Beer this time coming from Evia and very close to where we live. It is called “Septem Golden Ale”.

The first dish is “Choriatiki” salad….it is mind blowing and a surprise! You have to see to believe….and the taste is sensational. Then it is the Liver dish with oregano and lemon, some feta cheese, fried zucchini with tzatziki “pastitsio”, Beef Patties and the Funky Gourmet Burger. A nice presentation and all were so delicious.

I loved the “lamb giouvetsi” that followed and that was the last dish. I usually don’t like it that much but it was exceptional here…I wish there was more! We accompanied this dish with some Xinomavro wine (Ghi kai Ouranos) from the Thymiopoulos Estate.

We accompanied our dessert with some wine from Santorini. It is coming from the Argyros Estate. The Mezzo Vin Santo 2002.  (A combination of Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani) –a wine with great balance of sweetness and acidity. It has a copper-amber color with complex aromas of chocolate, honey, roasted coffee grains, dried fruit and nuts.

So the party continuous with another amazing presentation “All about lemon” and “Galaktoboureko” and lastly the paper bag with “berries” in a market container which is another pleasant surprise.

I feel lucky that I have come across this “hidden gem” although I am not quite sure if it is that hidden any more especially after receiving its first Michelin Star and I noticed a couple of other badges shown on the website. Funky Gourmet is owned and run by Georgianna and Argyro Hiliadaki and Nick Roussos. Georgianna and Nick are the head chefs. We even had the chance to meet Nick as he was the one who presented the “Galaktoboureko” and “cooked” it on our table! It is amazing, the taste is that of a real Galaktoboureko but the presentation is magic…in -196 C !!! 

For the last 3 consecutive years the restaurant ranks #1 as the best in Athens and surely it deserves it.

I highly recommend it because everything is made of great ingredients but at the same time I don’t recommend it to people who are conservative eaters of the Traditional Greek cuisine only, the ones who usually dip their bread in the salad dressing and in sauce and love eating in the traditional tavernas! To be more precise the person who comes here should by all means be open-minded, a person who has no trouble in tasting different dishes and surely have a playful diathesis.
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derrick241 on

Yes it does look and sound very nice, but I have never felt comfortable in restaurants like this, the food isnt really the sort of thing I would like, its more about the presentation,

I have tried places like this, but never really enjoyed them (or the prices)

greekcypriot on

Yes it might be a bit pricy but honestly speaking it was an amazing experience. They were moments when I felt like a child...and that anticipation of what was going to follow, how to deal with it and how to eat it. It was like a dream to me and I don't exaggerate Derrick. Besides, it is not a restaurant that you go out there all the time.

Allan on

Yes I am sure you had a good experience with your meal, but its not for me Poppy ! still working the overtime to stay in the Hotel, think I had a holiday for 118 euro's once upon a time, liked the sound of the Ale though !!!!

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