CULTURE

Time to dress up, and enjoy a good meal

No time to cook for your loved ones this holiday season? All you have to do is dress up. At the Athenaeum Inter-Continental Hotel, Executive Chef Jonathan Morris is preparing Roasted Tom Turkey and Christmas Logs (available for take-out as well). Christmas Eve at the newly established Cafezoe, begins with a Bucks Fizz and continues at the buffet, where lobster and shrimp will mix with Wellington fillet and sweet potatoes, while on January 1, breakfast will kick off with waffles and champagne. For those dining at the hotel, dinner will be accompanied by special accomodation rates. (Athenaeum Inter-Continental hotel, 89-93 Syngrou, tel 210.920.6000). At the city center’s N.J.V. Athens Plaza Hotel, the New Year’s Eve menu begins with smoked wild goat fillet in winter salad, followed by lobster medallions and crayfish on vegetable spaghetti, pheasant consomme with foie gras and gold leaf, venison and veal fillets with chestnuts and chanterelles in red wine cream with celery puree and prunes, brie and Blue de Bresse cheese in brioche with pistachio cream and baked quince, ending with bitter chocolate mousse with creme brulee. Ask for the special room rates. (Athens Plaza, Syntagma Square, tel 210.3352.400) At the Metropolitan, both the Aegean Sea ballroom and the Trocadero restaurant are preparing for end of the year festivities. In the ballroom, the Christmas dinner includes Cappuccino cream soup of grouse, lime sorbet with touches of Grappa, colorful and crunchy cheese in rose, among others, while New Year’s Eve will be accompanied by yellow pumpkin with foie gras, Vermouth and sherry, Norwegian salmon with cream cheese and rice in a ginger sauce, as well as Camembert with walnuts and Amaretto. (Metropolitan Hotel, 385 Syngrou. For reservations, call 210.947.1000) At the Athens Ledra Marriott’s Zephyros restaurant, the Christmas Eve dinner buffet kicks off with a pyramid of jumbo shrimps in a Calypso sauce and a selection of cold meat, among other dishes. Savory mango with paw-paw salad and medallion of ostrich follows. Diners are invited to spend the night free of charge. (Athens Ledra Marriott, 115 Syngrou, tel 210.930.0000) On top of the hill, St Georges Lycabettus is suggesting light creamed vegetable soup and ravioli filled with artichokes, flatfish fillet with blanched greens and grilled cherry tomato, and chocolate-almond harmony with chestnut ice cream, among other dishes for Christmas Eve at the Grand Balcon restaurant, while New Year’s is equally grand. (St Georges Lycabettus, 2, Kleomenous, Kolonaki, tel 210.729.0711-9) Further north, at the Hotel Pentelikon, Christmas Eve will be celebrated in grand culinary style with lobster bisque with double cream, red mullet fillets and traditional roast turkey with caramelized chestnuts, among others – all prepared by chef Bertrand Valegeas. (Hotel Pentelikon, 66 Dilliyianni, Kefalari, tel 210.623.0650) For those wishing to entertain at home without all the creative fuss in the kitchen, professionals will be happy to take over. There is plenty of gastronomic choice at Platis Gastronomie, for instance, where besides hot and cold assorted party and cocktail goodies (including chicken wings in an apple and cinnamon sauce and foie gras in phyllo pastry), clients can order smoked salmon terrine with celery in a truffle oil, canard a l’ orange, Chateaubriand accompanied by gratin dauphinois, among others. The usually square chocolate mousse gets the holiday treatment of being turned into a Christmas tree. (Platis Traiteur, 310 Kifissias, Kifissia, tel 210.625.1588) At the elite deli Bon Gout, chef Robert Serwatka is currently taking orders for traditional turkey or goose (whole or in their medaillon version), rich side dishes and stuffing, not to mention black and white chocolate mousse with fresh strawberries (individual portions or in buche form). He also recommends top quality Virginia ham, salmon, foie gras and caviar. (Bon Gout, 72 Strofyliou & Harilaou Trikoupi, Nea Erythraia, tel 210.625.4628.) Chef Dominique Perrot’s fresh oysters make their grand Athenian entrance today, ending their journey from the island of Oleron – place your orders. Culinary festivities continue with Perrot’s warm foie gras on a salad, accompanied by apple and pear chutney in a framboise vinegar with pine nuts; wild boar fillet sprinkled with three peppers, accompanied by a fresh potato, carrot and broccoli mash together with sauteed girolles mushrooms. This glorious meal comes to end with traditional chestnut and chocolate buche. (Elysee, tel 210.971.4148)