Greek legend

March 2008

When you ring a restaurant at nine in the morning and the chef is there, you know the food's in good hands. David Tsirekas of Perama (88 Audley Street Petersham 9569 7534) is always there, even earlier, mucking round with eggplants and lamb, thinking up great ideas for his lucky customers. And, boy, does he have a few right now. First, two treats for Tuesday nights: ouzo mezzedakia nights - order an ouzo and let David send out three plates of mezze to match it. Actually, right now you can do the same thing with a retsina or a Greek beer while he builds up his stock of different ouzos. Mezzes include octopus pickled in red wine, ricotta and sage puree, vela sweetbreads, barbecued sardines - 4 rounds, 12 plates. I say yassou to that.

Then, next month, his dad George will be coming in to spit-roast the lamb out front and he'll serve it with salads and entrees for just $45 a head. Dad on the spit - how Greek is that? And then on Wednesday nights, there's tou spitiou, which is Greek for pot luck or chef's choice. David heads out to the markets, comes back with whatever's good and turns in three courses for $60. Recently, for example, you would have got a taster plate of fresh figs stuffed with pastourma and ricotta; a Greek salad turned into a terrine; mullaway (we used to call it jewfish) in Turkish pastry stuffed with giant beans, fennel and chorizo; and a dessert of filo stuffed with white chocolate and peppermint tea mousse. All for $60. In the future, watch for the rembetika singers on the weekend. It's sort of like Greek jazz - the kind of songs they sang in the disreputable cafes in the port of Piraeus in the 50s. 

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