Ouzo Bay

Oh, I love Will and this bar, I like to consider myself a regular, but this was one of my first times I found myself having an actual dinner here. We got to Ouzo in the middle of happy hour on a Tuesday and the bar was packed. We squeezed in and grabbed a few cocktails. A classic bourbon sour (Bulliet, lemon, a little simply and a frothy egg white) and an Ouzo creation the Sunset over Zerzura. Named after a mythical city in Greece, this was The Botanist Gin, a little Aperol with grapefruit, fresh-squeezed lemon juice and ginger syrup. It wasn’t sweet. I don’t like sweet drinks – this was incredibly balanced – as are all Will’s cocktails.

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Since it was happy hour, we started with a few appetizers from the special menu.
We started with the saganaki tiganito – a Greek kefalograviera cheese in a small cast iron skillet. First its pan-fried, and then flambéed at the table with a little brandy. I owe everyone a flaming action shot, but I was too mesmerised to grab the phone. This is fried cheese folks served with pita toast points; it is one of those that kind of keeps its shapes when it is heated, so it is easy to scoop on to your bread. I love the smooth, creamy texture, and nutty saltiness of this cheese.

The octopus (xtapodi sharas) is also on the happy hour menu. This is one of my most favorite dishes they make. Grilled over charcoal so the octopus is still a little crispy, but tender melt-in-your-mouth goodness on the inside. Once off the grill, it’s tossed with sweet Onions and red peppers, and some herbs. There is so much happening in this dish – from the tender grilled mullosc to the red wine caper vinaigrette. As a fan of octopus, I get this every time I come in – sweet, tangy, with a balanced acidity.

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Next, we had to take advantage of the fresh fish options. We shared the Karavides – which is a small Norwegian lobster. Chef here slices it and grills it and served with a flavorful buttery sauce. I liked these – the meat was tender and rich, with a hint of sweetness.

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The first three dishes were superb, so I was very attentively awaiting the bronzino. We were warned about the wait, of 30-40 minutes, and were enjoying rounds of wine and ouzo, so we didn’t take much notice when it took quite a bit longer. The plating was grand and eye-catching, but that was probably the best part of the dish. The lean Mediterranean sea bass was grilled over charcoal and lightly seasoned with lemon and capers. I think the intention is to let the fish speak for itself, which it did – I was able to pick up on the light mild and sweetness. I only knew the sauce was lemon and capers, because there were lemon and capers on the dish. I would have liked more brininess and acid to come through, as I think it would have highlighted the fish.

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