David Tsirekas has, up until recently, run a very popular neighbourhood Greek restaurant in Petersham called Perama. But he’s closed it, going from edgy inner-west digs to Level Six of the shiniest new CBD building in town: Westfield Sydney. The room is all decked out in traditional rugs and cushions, with diaphanous fabric gathered and dragged out from the ceiling giving the impression of a luxurious circus tent. And while the floor seem to be still getting into the swing of running the room the food, when it arrives, is pretty good in parts. Make sure to order up big with the likes of peppered figs doused in warm honey, and the barbecued haloumi with plenty of squeak. Zucchini fritters are a bit of a non-event but the rabbit stifatho - layers of flaky filo pastry filled with braised-then-shredded rabbit in a sauce of tomato, honey, cinnamon, cloves and red wine - is a must. There are sweet versions too, that we wouldn’t mind giving a tilt, like the salted caramel, peanut and banana number.
Lamb straight off the spit isn’t quite as exciting as you’d hope and is a little under seasoned. The goat might prove to be more exciting. There’s plenty on offer in terms of Greek wine but they also have some very sessionable Greek beers - including Keo Cyprus, Mythos, Alfa and Vergina (heh heh) - which are great with rich meat dishes like the lamb Skaras - slow-braised-then-barbecued lamb shoulder with paprika, olive oil and garlic. This is one of a few dishes brought over from the Petersham restaurant. Perama fans will also be happy to find the caramel baklava ice cream made it over. Here, you'll find an ice-cream terrine of vanilla bean ice cream, layered with caramel sauce and baklava. Mercy.
Xanthi is probably the fanciest Greek restaurant Sydney has to offer right now (though news from the wire is Jonathan Barthelmess will be opening a Greek place in Potts Point early next year, with Longrain's Sam Christie). The thing is, Perama was a lot of fun - somewhere you could take your mates, and cause a ruckus. Xanthi, with all its bells and whistles, requires a little more decorum. Perama, we'll remember you well, old friend.