Last Monday was a national holiday celebrating Greece's Independence from the 368 years of Ottoman occupation. Just like on all special days, the Greeks celebrate with festive food and family reunions. According to Greek tradition, on 25 March, the special menu is cod fritters served with skordalia. Skordalia is a traditionally thick, tangy purée of boiled potatoes mixed with lots of garlic and olive oil. Apart from cod fritters, all kinds of fish compose a festive 25 March menu.
Alkis and I celebrated at Archontiko Papadopoulou which suggested a special, festive version of Ta Pilina (The Clay Pots). For starters we had a truly divine fish soup with vegetables which arrived piping hot and was served with lemon and freshly baked homemade bread served with green olives. This was followed by the cold starters - village salad, wild greens with olive oil and lemon, beetroot salad and stuffed vine leaves with rice and mint as well as traditional dips.
The hot starters included zucchini and tomato fritters and a vegetable pie and were followed by the main courses - "The Clay Pots". Although only baked potatoes and octopus with vegetables was served in a clay pot, all the rest was simply an ode to the palate: oven-baked sea bass on ceramic tile, oven-baked cuttlefish with an olive oil and lemon sauce, stuffed calamari with rice and vegetables, mushrooms with coriander and onions and baked potatoes.
We did make room for the dessert - chocolate cake, walnut pie and our very own pishies - traditional pies with cinnamon. As 25 March is a fasting day, all the desserts did not contain any animal fat at all. The chocolate and walnut cakes were sweetened with tahini and did not contain eggs, butter or milk.
After a festive meal, the hardest moment is when you ask for the bill. Believe it or not, we paid for the whole festive menu €25 per person! My husband and I would like to congratulate the Executive Chef, the Maitre D' and all the staff that contributed to a great service. My husband is allergic to fish. Upon reservation, he asked for just a grilled chicken fillet for main course. He was pleasantly surprised with all the great chicken dishes the Chef had prepared for him.
If you live in Cyprus and love good food made with pure ingredients, don't hesitate to book a table at Archontiko Papadopoulou. It's a unique culinary experience and great value for money.