This sugar hit will be hard to beat
My first encounter with Perama was precisely one year ago. It was on one fateful evening that a friend of mine organised a group dinner, which introduced me to a whole new world of Greek food. A world where a greek salad was not the only entree available, a place where lamb was not the only protein in the mains option, a moment where baklava was not the only dessert offering. I was so impressed by that night that one year on, I’m still raving about it to anyone who cares to listen. So imagine my excitement when I found out that this year, Perama chose to offer themselves to the euphoria that surrounds SIFF Sugar Hits.
With our table of 10, we promptly booked the earliest available session, which was 10pm. With all my constant bragging, I think everyone had very high expectations of what the chef, David Tsirakis had to offer.
To start us off on our sugar trip, we were given the option of either brandy or the house dessert wine, we all chose the dessert wine. The dessert wine for me was a little too sweet to start off the sugar onslaught, however pleasant enough to sip from throughout the evening.
Studying the sugar hit menu, I was quite surprised to see that there were four options available so we decided to select one of each. Needless to say, we were ecstatic when we were told that each person would be given a tasting plate containing all four desserts.
Despite everything being exceptional about my meal at Perama last year, it was without a doubt that their dessert was the most outstanding, more specifically the Caramel Baklava ice cream. As our lovely waitress set the plates onto the table, I immediately dug into the Baklava ice cream – a very long time coming but happy reunion. One year on and the baklava ice cream is still just as good. The fragrant caramel ice cream combined with the simple but smooth vanilla ice cream worked well together in offsetting the robust flavours of the pistachio nuts.
Completely satisfied with my Baklava ice cream, I ventured into the Choc nut tahini gelato diples. Analysing another classic Greek Pastry on the menu, I expected a traditional fried flat pastry dipped in syrup. Instead, we get David’s Cannoli inspired Italianised Diples. Usually, I’m a huge fan of Cannoli, especially when they’re fresh and crispy. Cracking into the diples to get to the gelato, I could tell that I wouldn’t be disappointed with David’s version. I wasn’t wrong. The diples was slightly warm and definitely crispy, stuffed to the brim with light choc nut gelato sprinkled with white sesame. Sugar trip? More like a flavour trip.
Next up was the passionfruit Bougatsa. Bougatsa according to Wikipedia is a traditional Greek filo pastry, usually stuffed with cheese, custard or minced meat. One bite into the crispy filo pastry and you’re immediately hit with the refreshing smell of passionfruit. With such intensive fragrant, you would expect to be eating passionfruit pulp, but instead what you get is an oozing creamy semolina custard.
The last of the quartet was the Quince Melamakarona crumble. Google tells me that the Melamakarona is a semolina based cookie, flavoured with honey and spices. Once again, David attempts to modernised traditional recipes, re-inventing family favourites. Honestly, who doesn’t love an apple crumble? This is just like your traditional apple crumble but much more interesting. Instead of boring flour and butter crumbles, you get deliciously crumbly walnut and orange flavoured biscuits. Instead of its namesake apples, you get the classier relative, quince. Finally, instead of a dollop of cream, you get a layering of rich cinnamon infused ricotta.
Not satisfied with offering us such a great dessert platter, we are then given the option of tea or coffee, with most people opting for the Greek coffee. Don’t let its velvety texture fool you, I was told that this concoction sure packed a caffeine-fuelled punch.
Towards the end of our meal, looking around the room, I noticed that David actually came out from his kitchen to meet and greet the diners. In no time at all, he makes his way to our table. A friendly chat with him leads me to conclude that this is one man who’s passionate about his culture, his food and his Football. He not only shows this through the fantastic food that he offers, more so in his attempts to introduce traditional Greek flavours to a more contemporary setting.
Each week David will select four different desserts which have proven popular throughout Perama’s last 16 years. If you want to sample what we had, get down to Perama before Thursday night, as he changes the dessert selection each week on that day. I’m looking forward to the next Glykomezedes at Perama.
Note : The $20 desserts are part of the Sydney International Food Festival Sugar Hits 2009. The special dessert offer is available through October 2009.
88 Audley St
Petersham, NSW, 2049
Ph: (02) 9569 7534