There’s nothing better in winter than a nice warm restaurant, good booze and plates of delicious comfort food. Lucky for me, Perama, owned and run by the lovely David Tsirekas, is literally up the road from me, and certainly delivers on all fronts.
With dinner you are served complimentary bread, which I enjoy drowning in the beautiful olive oil sitting on the table. I’m informed that the bread,which is delightful on it’s own, comes from Casa Niti in Haberfield
Words fail me, truly. This dish was simply stunning. The stifatho was beautifully warming and the pastry perfectly crispy. I simply cannot do the dish justice by using words to describe it. Let me find that choir of angels I have here somewhere…
A simply and perfectly cooked dish, albeit spiky. Yep, them school prawns can be dangerous if you’re not careful. Nevertheless, don’t let that put you off, nor should you be dissuaded from trying it due to the presence of batter, as it’s surprisingly light for a fried dish.
Sometimes I wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night, dreaming about eating this dish. I can’t imagine what I did before knowing it existed. No, really, it is everything food should be. The word baklava conjures images of sickly sweet pastries you nibble on while having coffee – but this is one dish that shouldn’t be taken so lightly. The date and mastic sauce give the incredible sweet and slightly acidic taste you’re looking for, but salty slow-cooked pork belly takes the dish to another level entirely. The pastry is top quality and perfectly crisp, despite the heavy fillings it carries. It’s not only a shock to the sensibilities of the average diner in it’s conception, but a taste explosion.
Should I have used the words ‘conception’ and ‘explosion’ in the same sentence? Never mind. Try not to think about it.
This dish is a regular feature on the menu, and so it should be. It’s a heart-warming slow-cooked dish, just like Mum used to make – well, if she was Greek. And a fantastic cook. The gorgeous shredded lamb and roast potatoes really make you feel like you’re at home.
Sadly, this is the one dish that failed to meet expectations. The chicken was lost in the sauce – which was lovely, but there was too much of it. The ‘mash’ that it came with, I was informed afterwards, was actually skordalia. The sausage was just an unwelcome guest. Head chef David explained to me afterwards that the dish is supposed to be reminiscent of Northern Greece, where there is a heavy Balkan influence. I say stuff the Balkans, pull back on the sauce and put ‘skordalia’ on the menu.
This dish, however, was an utter delight. How do you get perfectly cooked fish once you’ve already wrapped it in filo? The skill eludes me, but not the staff at Perama, obviously. The broth was tasty, but quite pungent – not one for sticking your whole nose in (as us idiots did). The broth had quite obviously been made with prawn shells. That’s not to say it was overpowering, more an overtone.
My favourite wines at the moment come from Capital Wines, named so due to their location just out of Canberra. Their Sauvignon Blanc, known as ‘The Swinger’, is light, yet complex enough to bring all the dishes together.
Despite the fact that we were already bursting at the seams, we couldn’t resist dessert.
Glykomeze, sort of a Greek-style petit fours, are exactly the sort of thing you should order if you simply cannot fit in another bite, but want an excuse to try the Metaxa brandy. Ahem.
Toasted brioche, honey syrup and marscapone cream. Sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? We decided to name it ‘The World’s Greatest Donut’. Because we are idiots. But, truly, it was light, fluffy and sweet, just like… well, a donut. The marscapone cream really set it off, and was a soft contrast to the ultra-sweetness of the syrup.
Crumble should be warm, right? This is cold. And I don’t care. It’s so good I’ve had it twice now. The pears are poached in red wine, honey, cardamom, cloves and peppercorns, just to name a few of the spices. Top it with layers of halva marscapone cream and crumbled walnut orange biscuits (Note: Thank god Mr Tsirekas gives away all his recipe secrets on Twitter).
I think the thing I like most about Perama is that you feel very much at home on the first visit, while getting to experience the joy of fine dining. It’s a very relaxed kind of place, and very much an expression of the head chef himself – relaxed, friendly, but with a bit of devilment going on somewhere.
Possibly upstairs, where it’s haunted. Trust me.
Tuesday – Saturday
6:00pm – 10:30pm
Address: 88 Audley St, Petersham, NSW
Telephone: 9569 7534
Bookings sent by email must be confirmed by phone
Bottled wine only
Corkage $6.00 per bottle