CULTURE

Petite Fleur, the small cafe that offers charm and calm

Right in the heart of Athens, on the rather unkempt and narrow Omirou Street, a small, Parisian-style cafe with a colorful glass entrance pleasantly catches one’s attention as promising a calming respite. The cafe, called Petite Fleur, opened around a year ago with the idea of offering something that its owner felt was missing from Athens: a small, intimate place where one could sit alone and relax almost as if in a domestic environment. With respect to privacy as the principal objective, the owner of the cafe turned a rather constricted, square space into something warm and charming with a touch of vintage, shabby chic aesthetic. The furniture is all old and, like the cafe’s crockery, each piece differs from the rest. Together with the pastel-colored wallpaper, the small paintings and tiled parquet, Petite Fleur with its five tables resembles a parlor – not in a homey but a more sophisticated, arty kind of way. In Petite Fleur, one can enjoy certain rarities such as music from the ’30s to the ’50s or recordings of classical concerts all played from vinyl records that the owner has rummaged for in specialized old stores. Customers are sometimes asked to select the music and can even play a few tunes at the cafe’s piano. Specialties include chocolate beverages made with Valrhona French chocolate, espresso made from Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans and drinks concocted through an imaginative blend of ingredients such as orange, bitter almond, alcohol, spices and fruits. The cafe’s strongest point, however, is its wide selection of teas, among them smoked tea, silver tip green tea as well as another 30 varieties. Because the cafe’s owner wanted to avoid the atmosphere of a bar, alcoholic drinks include only Oban malt whiskey and Martell cognac, as well as white and red wines, the selection of which varies. The sweets come from the Pastry Family patisserie but the savory tarts (vegetarian or chicken and mushroom) and the salads are all homemade. One drawback to the place is that on the days it is full one has to wait a little bit longer than in most places before being served. Petite Fleur’s owner says that this is because nothing is prepackaged or prepared in advance but is made the moment it is ordered, using low heat and meticulous cooking methods (slow stirring of the chocolate beverage for example). After all, Petite Fleur is about learning to appreciate a slower, more relaxed pace and a more personalized service and environment. One can chose to do so everyday from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.