It's rather ironic our dinner venue on a rainy night is a restaurant named after the Greek sun god, Apollo, but I hoped the food would make me forget the horrid weather we are having on the last day of summer. Opened only a few weeks ago, The Apollo is fast becoming talk of the town, so expectations were high when I walked into the restaurant promptly at 6pm.
Taking up the corner space of a 1930s building with archway windows, this Greek Taverna is run by Jonathan Barthelmess, former head chef of Manly Pavilion, and Sam Christie, co-owner of Longrain. While an elongated bar with marbled granite top dominated one side of the restaurant, the exposed ceiling and pipes, rough concrete columns and minimalist furnishing gave the space a simple yet modern and edgy feel; the oversized cantilevered lamps added a touch of elegance.
|High Mountain Ice Tea|
While waiting for the rest of my dinner party to arrive, I sipped on a High Mountain Ice Tea (Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Medos Honey Vodka, Massenez Apricot Liqueur, Greek Mountain Tea, lemon, honey, mint). It was soothing, citrusy and a great way to wind down from the busy day I had at work.
The menu is, as you may have already gathered, Greek inspired. The dishes are designed to be shared, as the menu proudly states: historically Greek food has been made to share, this tradition continues at The Apollo.
First to arrive at the table was the complimentary housemade pita bread that came with taramasala topped with salmon roe in a sealed glass jar. And gosh, I could not get enough of the taramasala, it was creamy and smooth with an intense flavour. I was so glad when our order of warm pita bread arrived, it gave me a chance to finish off the jar of taramasala.
|Pig's Tail Salad|
Next up was the Pig's tail salad, walnuts, sorrel, currants, pomegranate farro. I honestly had no idea what to expect when I ordered it. I'd have never imagined it to look like the dish that came out of the kitchen. Definitely no curly piggy tails here, instead, the tails are flattened and cooked as crackling, absolutely delicious!
For someone who tend to avoid anchovies, I didn't actually mind the Macaroni, chicory, anchovies, chilli, garlic. The saltiness from the anchovies was well balanced by the macaroni and chicory, the very subtle hint of chilli and garlic added more depth to the flavour of the dish.
The servings may seem small, but they were quite filling, or maybe it was all that pita bread I ate, but after sharing the Whole grilled Mackerel served with salsa verde and lemon, plus a Greek salad (cucumber, tomato, feta, olives) on the side, I had just enough room for dessert.
|Walnuts Filo Pastry|
The Ouzo marinated watermelon, pineapple granita was refreshing, but the whole table favoured the Walnuts filo pastry, coffee cream. The pastry was light, add the crunch of the walnuts, sweetness of the currants and silky smooth coffee cream and honey, surely it's a dessert designed for the gods?
One thing to take note before you rush down to get a taste of the modern Greek dishes, reservations are only taken for a table of six or more, so it pays to arrive early if you don't add up in numbers to book a table in advance. I watched the Maitre d' bring out the waiting list less than an hour after the doors opened, and this was on a miserable wet week night too.