Thursday, July 2, 2009

TwitterFeast at Perama, Petersham

It was a cold winter's night and a group of us (including Betty & Richard, Betty, Lorraine, Karen, Trina, Leona & Lis, Reem and Lisa) were in Petersham to visit Perama, with the promise of being treated to a feast by David Tsirekas. As soon as I heard the word 'feast' being thrown around, I decided to wear a dress with an elasticated waist in preparation. This turned out to be a very good decision, because it was indeed a feast. Actually an incredibly indulgent and GIGANTIC gorge-fest seems like a more appropriate description.

I'd been keen to visit Perama ever since reading Reem's review a while back, so when we were invited to come and enjoy the banquet menu plus other special dishes and wines for $50 pp I was giddy with anticipation. The food started coming out and for several hours it seemed like there was a never-ending river of delicious food coming my way. Believe me when I say I could not eat for the entire next day, I was so well fed that night!

Greek Salad ($11.00) - Dressed with Cretan Minos extra virgin olive oil
We started with bread and a lovely Greek salad. I avoided the bread which is something my stomach thanked me for later. However I ate far too much of the salad, I am a sucker for a slab of creamy feta and if I had known how much food was to come I would have slowed down a lot more!

Assorted Pickles: Cabbage ($4.00), octopus ($6.50) & mushrooms ($5.00)
I didn't have too much of the pickles, I can't remember too much except they were tasty but quite oily. I also enjoyed the smoky flavour from the BBQ marinated artichokes.

BBQ marinated artichokes ($5.50)

Mixed dips ($13.50) - Tzatziki, tarama, split pea, olive paste and smoked eggplant served with paximadia seasoned with white sesame seeds and oregano
The dips sat invitingly close to me and I couldn't stop going back for more as there was a slight pause before any other dishes came out. My absolute favourite was the smoked eggplant, the flavour was intense and wonderfully smoky.

Graviera crumbed haloumi ($6.50)
Yeahh bring on the deep fried cheese! This was crisp on the outside and softly yielding once you bit into the golden nuggets. But as fun as these were, I liked the grilled haloumi even more (it's one of my favourite dishes). Paired with the sweet and sticky figs, this was definitely a crowd favourite.

BBQ Haloumi Cheese ($17.20) - Chargrilled Cypriot haloumi cheese served with freshly chopped tomato & shallot, olive paste and honey peppered figs

Imambaldi ($6.00) - Stuffed roasted eggplant

Fried Calamari ($17.00) - Lightly floured calamari, deep fried and served with an ouzo garlic mayonnaise
I only had a very small taste of the calamari and the eggplant, but both were moist, perfectly cooked. Same deal with the zucchini fritters, I actually forgot I even got a taste of these until I realised I had a photo of it! I can now faintly recall having a very small taste and am fairly certain it was an enjoyable mouthful. (I'm sorry I'm being so vague, my memory of the night is a blur of small tastes of everything. At one point I said it was like having a Greek yum cha because I basically had a bite of each dish!)

Zucchini fritters ($5.50)
The filo pie is a great comfort food dish, the pastry is flaky and buttery with a generous & moist filling. The liver was quite strong flavoured but went well with the dip on the side.

Hand-rolled Macedonian filo spinach pie ($6.50)

Sheftalies ($6.50) - Cypriot sausage

BBQ Lamb's Liver ($15.00) - Chargrilled & served with straw string beans & split pea dip.

Mixed Filo Pastries ($16.80) - Danish white and ricotta cheese, shredded lamb and white bean, 
rabbit stifatho and scallop & prawn pastries
The mixed filo pastries were like a filo lucky dip! I think I got a taste of a rabbit one and a scallop and prawn one. Mmm I liked their pastry...Unfortunately I was starting to feel a little bit full already...

Vine dolamathes ($7.50)

Greek meatballs meatball

Lahanika Loukoumathes ($15.50) - Asparagus, shallot stems, oyster mushrooms, 
zucchini and white yam dipped in a yeast batter, 
deep fried and served with a tomato and honey syrup and crushed walnuts
I didn't get to try the dish above since it had nuts in it but after these dishes there was a small break and we were all pleasantly filled with food and my dessert stomach was preparing itself to kick in when they brought out the most ginormous plate of lamb skaras which the waiter placed on the table and said "...and this is one of the mains". Wait, we were just getting into the mains? A feast of epic proportions was definitely in progress!

Lamb skaras ($28.50) - Slow braised shoulder lean lamb with oregano, olive oil, wine & garlic, then chargrilled with a lemon & olive oil baste and served with baked oregano lemon potatoes and string beans.
The lamb was tender, but even more tender was the giouvetsi goat. We heard this was a special goat dish with a bit of a story behind it, so as we were passing it up and down the table Lisa and I were referring to it as the Magical Goat. Why yes, I would like more Magical Goat thank you! When the lovely David Tsirekas came to chat with us after our meal he explained that they attempted to achieve an extremely tender fatty meat in a similar manner to Kobe beef but with a goat and 24 cases of beer over 3 months. It was fascinating to hear about and I have to say, I think they succeeded in producing a meltingly tender goat meat from all that effort!

Giouvetsi Goat (aka Magical Goat!)

Bizelia ($6.00) - Casserole of peas cooked with tomatoes and herbs

Hand rolled filo pumpkin pie ($26.00) - Baked village style hand rolled filo and
pumpkin pie served with roasted beetroot, leek and mustard puree
I'm not quite sure how I hadn't just fallen asleep at the table by this point from the amount of food and wine that had been consumed, but I still managed to appreciate the pumpkin pie. His hand rolled filo pie was probably my favourite of the night after the magical goat. Others were swooning over his pork belly baklava and baklava ice cream which looked amazing but I had to miss out on because of my silly allergies :(

Lamb Kleftiko ($30.00) - To avoid detection during the Greek War of Independence, the guerillas used to cook their meats in earthenware in the ground. This variation is lamb cooked in a clay pot with potatoes and olives, in a spiced tomato sauce and melted kasseri cheese

Roast duck ($32.00) - The Macedonians in King Phillip's court enjoyed extravagant banquets, which included game birds served with roasted fruits and greens. The duck is roasted with a cumin spiced quince and served with wilted greens

Unfortunately I was full-to-bursting at this point so I can't say I was tasting things very well at this point. I did notice the lovely combination of the spiced quince with the juicy duck though. I wasn't the only person who was completely out of stomach space, no matter how keen we were to try everything. So we had to tell David to skip the lobster moussaka that was planned...all the more reason why I think I will have to go back in the future for a proper review!

Caramel baklava ice cream ($13.50)& Bougatsa ($13.50) - Mandarin-flavoured milk semolina custard wrapped in filo served with a tahini and mint cream sauce. Sliced layers of vanilla bean ice cream, caramel sauce and baklava
A nice break combined with some girly chat with my favourite bloggers meant that I was excited when the desserts showed up.The bougatsa was super crisp filo pastry filled with custard, very satisfying. Everyone seemed to love the caramel baklava icecream and the staff were very sweet to provide me with some nut-less icecream to enjoy with the bougatsa!

Ekmek ($13.00) - The Byzantine peasants of Constantinople enjoyed a simple dessert of oven fired brioche soaked in a spiced sugar syrup and served with kaymaki (clotted cream)

My eyes lit up as soon as I saw the ekmek. Brioche? In syrup. With cream! Oh my. I may have made some inappropriately excited groans of happiness after tasting this one. I am such a sucker for brioche. This one was extremely good. Golden but with a fluffy interior and it went so well with that syrup and cream. I think if that had stayed in front of me any longer I would have eaten the entire thing myself. I liked it so much I went home and created something along the same lines!

Kalamata baklava ($12.50) - Chopped almonds with sugared kalamata olives and

shredded mixed citrus peels. Served with kalamata and mascarpone ice cream

Obviously I couldn't eat the baklava but I did have a taste of the ice cream which had a very strong and distinct flavor from the kalamata olives. I am not a huge olive fan but I quite liked the flavour that came through in the ice cream.

Pears in Red Wine Syrup ($13.50
) - Pears poached in a spiced wine syrup,
 served with fresh strained yoghurt and pasteli (sesame honey biscuit)
Anyone who knows me knows I used to have a thing against poached pears. I've had some really bad ones at restaurants. There are just so many things that can make this a drab or unappealing dessert. But now I think I might be converted; this was a perfectly poached pear with quite a lovely spiced wine syrup that I was spooning up on its own because it was so nice.

Rice Pudding ($13.00) - 
Milk, vanilla and cinnamon rice pudding served with rhubarb poached in sweet brandy syrup
Another type of dessert I was never a huge fan of in the past. To me I never quite got rice puddings, it just seemed like an odd way to use rice. This was pretty good though, it went fabulously with the sweet poached rhubarb. I'm in a rhubarb phase at the moment so I went back for a second spoonful.

So that is the end of the food I swear! My mouth and stomach are almost feeling tired just from the memory of all the food that was consumed. It was a lovely night being surrounded by great company and good food. I seriously don't think I've been so well-fed before, like I said previously I ate hardly anything the day after because I was still so full! We were truly given the royal treatment, thank you so much to David Tsirekas and the people at Perama for taking such amazingly good care of us, it was a truly memorable experience. I felt lucky to get to try out almost everything available on the menu, which is not something I would have gotten to do if it wasn't for this tweetup. A revisit is definitely on the cards, because I worry that I didn't have a proper taste of almost all the mains since I was far too full by that point. Heck, I think just want to go back for more ekmek :)

(02) 9569 7534

88 Audley St,

Petersham, NSW 2049

Tues-Sat: 6.00pm - 10.30pm

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  1. ...lest not forget the haloumi and fig! :) Big yes to the revist!

  2. awesome review Steph!!

    I needa get a move on mine, its so daunting though so many piccies!


  3. This looks like the kind of feast that you'd have to undo a notch or two on your belt for.

    Love the story behind the Lamb Kleftiko. A feast and a bit of history too!

  4. Everyone has been posting this and everytime I see it I go "aahhhhh I can feel my stomach stretching!" without even being physically there.

  5. The smoky eggplant dip was my fave too! I really want to go back for the Lamb Mousaka ;) Great review & photos of the night! I was so tired from writing up my post! lol. But, we did it *high 5*

  6. Good thinking with the elasticated waist on your dress. I felt like I should have worn a mumu with the amount of food consumed. Reliving the night through your post - so hungry now..

  7. Oh my, that really was a feast. When you think there can be no more food, on comes the next dish. What a real treat!

  8. What a feast!! Very wise decision choosing a dress with an elasticated waist :p

  9. I'm dying to go back for that lobster moussaka! Anything with lobster and moussaka has got to be eaten :P Hehe at Greek Yum Cha! There were so many tastes and sensations!

  10. Karen - :) yes definitely!

    Bets - Thanks! Your photos looked great!

    Simon - Yeah I loved how they had the descriptions in the menu, it made it more special!

    Trisha - I know what you mean, I get hungry and then kind of nauseous seeing how much food we ate everytime I read one of the posts!

    Betty - :D go us and our late night marathon blogging!

    Forager - Yep a mumu would have worked well too haha! I was the same when I read your post!

    Maria - Haha you described it perfectly! It was insane

    Ellie - LOL yep I was giving myself a pat on the back for that decision :)

    Lorraine - I agree! I really want to taste it. It really was like a yum cha with the way I was eating it!


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