Reading my first review of Vezene, I feel that I was overly harsh, particularly since I had realised immediately that the restaurant was bringing something new to the city. Today, 18 months later, I am delighted to see confirmation of this. The venue has indeed become the talk of the town; it is full on a daily basis, even now at this time of crisis.
The prices of some dishes have been adjusted slightly, for instance the onglet, down from €27.50 to €23.50, which was just what was needed. This prime cut of beef steak from the diaphragm is marinated in green apple, soya, shallots and is really delicious. Although personally I prefer the bottom sirloin flap that is served without being marinated. You can really appreciate the deep, complex flavour of the well-matured meat. I can’t think of another restaurant in Athens at the moment which makes so much effort sourcing exceptional cuts from all over the world, ensuring the finest taste at affordable prices!
It is precisely this focus on finding the right ingredients that makes Vezene stand out. And I am not just talking about the meat but also the cold cuts, cheeses, in fact everything. This is the reason, or rather one of the reasons (because there is also the excellent dough) why here we always find the best pizza in Athens, and why even a ‘simple’ salad becomes something special with the addition of beluga lentils. But we also have expertly executed, extremely tasty dishes that highlight the fine ingredients used. What to mention first? The outstanding amatriciana? The small bruschetta topped with beef bone marrow, pickled porcini and parsley salad? The marvellous wagyu tartare prepared with a little olive oil, fresh oregano, parmesan, capers and a dash of truffle oil to accentuate the flavour and texture of the meat.
If I had to make a negative comment, it would relate to the sometimes excessive richness. The most characteristic example being the braised oxtail and cheeks youvetsi, slowly cooked for 24 hours in a vacuum pouch (sous-vide) with Nebbiolo, thyme and Piave Vecchio cheese. A real taste bomb, so robust, so deep and so rich that eventually it is just too much. I could say the same for the tart with two types of bitter chocolate. A very pleasing chocolaty sensation, ingeniously combined with fior di latte ice cream, but mere mortals cannot eat more than one or two spoonfuls!
On the other hand, I must single out one particular dish that is completely different to the others but truly wonderful. I am referring to the steamed buns (Thai style to a recipe from Momofuku NYC) filled with guanciale (pork jowl or cheek) from the Iberian pata negra breed along with pineapple chutney, cucumber, coriander leaves and kimchi (a Korean, fermented mix of vegetables and seasonings). A truly remarkable, multidimensional dish, perhaps the finest Asian delicacy served in Athens!
Add to all this an interesting wine list, with plenty of options by the glass, well informed and efficient service and the attractive – although somewhat cramped – dining area and you have the full picture. Vezene has enjoyed enormous success in Athens in recent years. My explanation is as follows: it is a very good restaurant, which is gradually improving by remedying any shortcomings and serving food that is comforting and familiar. At the same time it has a charming, upbeat and ‘boisterous’ atmosphere. All this make it the ideal ‘good restaurant’ for crisis-hit Athens.
- Phone: (+210) 7232002
- Address: 11 Vrasida Str. Hilton restrict , Αθήνα,
- Website: http://www.vezene.gr/
- Open: Daily, except Sunday evening
- Price per person (€)*: €40-65
- * we do our best to reflect the actual price range per-person of a full meal including first and main courses, desert, water and half a bottle of wine or one beer depending on the type of restaurant.
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