On the Greek island of Rhodes, my friend and chef Georgia Gerardis is seducing taste buds. Greek food, which has always focused on simple and fresh, has never been food porn. Until now.
So let’s start with dessert, my favourite end of the meal. Baklava ice cream – vanilla ice cream with crisp flaky filo pastry, and coated in walnuts, pistachios and drizzled with honey syrup – what’s not to love?
At her restaurant Ammoyiali, Georgia creates art on a plate. It’s enough to make you hot and bothered in the most delectable way. Georgia calls her food Greek fusion.
She draws upon regional influences, but she almost always shops for the freshest local produce – a Greek tradition unchanged over time.
“My dishes are inspired by seasonal ingredients produced in our region but I always overdo it with one specific spice…Love! I get inspired by anything, a visit to the open market, a glance at a stall full of glossy green peppers or a basket of freshly picked tomatoes, a peek at a loaf of bread, my own cravings and mainly by the expressions on the faces of pleased customers,” Georgia says.
“I love Greek cuisine. I always put a twist to traditional dishes and find it fascinating making uninspiring ones, like a fava bean puree, via gourmet alchemy into a desirable dish. I get flooded by many ideas. Sometimes I wish to have many lives to create all the dishes I have in mind! One life is simply not enough!”
Georgia’s husband Anthony is the other driving force in the kitchen. Her close friends run the front of the house. She says Greeks are updating their food tastes.
“No matter how surprisingly it might sound, Greeks do like experimenting with new dishes. The average Greek mother cooks wonderfully and homemade food is our eating habit. So when Greeks go out for dinner, they want to taste something new, something that will tickle their taste buds and become the discussion of the table.”
Georgia does her best to support local business.
“I have always been supporting the local market as long as they look good, smell good and taste good.
“Honey, herbs, vegetables and meat, everything is locally produced. We mostly work with seasonal fruits and veggies. We are very picky as far as quality is concerned, we do not want pesticides in our main ingredients.”
Ammoyiali also does event catering for weddings, christenings, birthdays and special holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
Desserts also include kataifi chocolate cake with custard cream and caramelized hazelnuts, and mastic-scented panna cotta with caramel and roasted almonds. And the modern take (pictured above) of the semolina dessert halva, served with blackberry sauce and pistachios.
Georgia updates her dishes regularly and has set menus from 35 euros. As the Greeks say: Kali orexi!
Ammoyiali is 2km from the centre of Rhodes Town on the foot of the Monte Smith hill near the Temple Of Apollo.
17 Voreiou Ipeirou Street.
Call for reservations: 224-1023-980, 224-102-3939.
The restaurant is open all year round. If you’re visiting Rhodes, Ammoyiali is a MUST place to dine.