This Michelin Star-winning restaurant has a marine theme, which is brought out by the blue and beige hues of its interior. Wiz chef-cum-owner Lefteris ... More
This Michelin Star-winning restaurant has a marine theme, which is brought out by the blue and beige hues of its interior. Wiz chef-cum-owner Lefteris Lazarou transforms recipes into magical culinary delights at this eatery. Although it is spread over two floors, you'd better be early, or your taste buds will have to do without the delicious fare! The Smoked Eel, and Monkfish Livers with Soy Sauce are both worth a try. The desserts may seem rich, but don't leave without trying one - they are simply exotic!
I had a pleasure to eat at Varoulko yesterday, 3 September. Everything was set up for a nice evening with excellent sea food. But, the aftertaste was bitter, and not because of the espresso (which was good), but because of details which make the difference between a Greek place and a great place.
The menu was built around day’s catch and included a cold crab salad with mandarine sauce, fried crusty sardine fillets with smoked aubergine mousse and a tiny dash of strawberry sauce, a risotto-like couscous cooked in pork stock with baby squid and a beef sauce (sounds strange, but was probably the very best course of the whole meal), a cod with black ravioli and lemon-egg sauce and as main a grilled red porgy (fagri) with green stewed vegetables and a tomato. We polished the meal off with a chocolate cream with caramel ice-cream (my wife) and chamomile induced sweet bavarois with sharp and refreshing lemon sorbet. Our wine was a reasonably priced Greek asyrtiko.
The food was very good though not excellent. The main course remained a disappointment after the strong beginning, and the lemon sorbet in the dessert almost killed the delicate flavour of chamomile. However, this was minor. The problem was elsewhere.
My wife’s crab salad had a surprisingly great amount of shell and other uncomestible parts. When asked for our comments after the first starter, we mentioned this and expressed our slight disappointment. Our criticism was well-received, a promise to pass our message to the kitchen and to the Chef was made by two of the head waiters and we left it at that waiting that the Chef would probably come to apologise and offer an excuse.
The Chef did indeed arrive. He spent approximately 80 % of the time of our meal (2.5 hours) outside the kitchen amongst the clientele having no chance of controlling anything that came out of the kitchen. He even served to a few tables, those, where he obviously had friends and acquaintances. He did not have 30 seconds for us, even to briefly say good evening. Nor did he have to the majority of the tables.
Our water glasses remained empty for minutes at a time – we had to ask for more. This caused the Sommelier to criticise the waiter behind our backs for not having paid attention to the tables. Similarly we overheard the criticisms of the Chef to another waiter who did not serve us at another occasion. Our bread plates remained empty until we asked for more. And we waited 10 minutes for bread to arrive as it "had to be re-heated", we were told.
I could still disregard the water, the bread, the public lecturing – but I cannot disregard the way the second bottle of wine was served. I did not have a chance to check, taste and verify our second bottle of wine. Instead it was opened before I could see it and it was poured straight into my wife’s half full glass and to my old empty glass.
Nor can I disregard the absence of the Chef at the time when we made our polite criticism. At the end of the meal, we even mentioned that we actually did wait for him to come and that we saw him dashing around the clients, but not sparing us a word. It was disappointing.
Varoulko and its Chef boast one Michelin star since 2002. While the food was close to being of that quality, the attention to the details was missing yesterday. Also the lack of will to correct or somehow compensate for mistakes was not what one expects from a restaurant of this reputation. For a meal which costs 300 euro for two people one can and should expect more.
The hotel manager had warned us that some of the guests at the hotel were not impressed with the restaurant. He was correct. The food was overly salted, portions were small, and service was non existant.
*Terms & Conditions: Savings calculation is based on Flight + Hotel vacation package bookings for a 3 month period for 2 adults with a 2+ night length of stay compared to price of the same components if booked separately during same period. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, travel dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages.