Exclusively Greek Cuisine!
Cookoovaya Restaurant, opened its doors on December 2, 2014, and is the creation of the five talented Chefs of the restaurant, each one with their own expertise and vision. Visiting Athens on a business trip and staying at the Hilton Athens which is in the area, I arranged to come to Cookoovaya for dinner. I was here in the capacity of a Food critic to comment on the restaurant’s new menu. Cookoovaya restaurant does not offer gourmet cuisine, as a number of customers believe and as a result of their ignorance they are very unfair with the way they rate this business.
Words that could describe the atmosphere and the cuisine of the Cookoovaya restaurant are simplicity, good food, feast & celebration, fun and hospitality. Don’t expect the owners to be behind the kitchen. They are indeed much before there and in turns, before customers show up, supervising and assuring that everything is under control.
Their other significant role starts the moment the restaurant opens its doors and they are there to welcome their customers and the many repeaters they have. Behind the wide open kitchen, there are other expertize Chefs cooking and putting the last touches on each dish before sent out to customers.
The clean, straightforward decor and lighting, pair beautifully with the menus. The place is well lit, impressive without being chic, while the wide open kitchen is eye-catching giving a stage to an almost theatrically performance of the cooks with customers watching them at work. I enjoyed the space between the tables, -something missing from many other restaurants in Athens.
My journey to taste at the Cookoovaya restaurant starts with home-cooked bread, white and black. I loved the latter which was made of carob flour and nuts…never had similar elsewhere and it was super yummy, accompanied by fresh butter sprinkled by Greek botargo.
We had a real traditional Greek Salad, freshly cut with exquisite taste and flavour in virgin olive oil. A clever presentation with another dish accompanying it –a sour feta cheese with black sesame. Refreshing and mouthwatering!
Appetizers: Cold and Raw
The Cauliflower Assiette with gorgonzola and chives vinaigrette (hot appetizer) was appealing and an interesting dish. (Fried kataifi)
The Sea Bream Tartare (cold appetizer) was a flavoursome delight. Garnished with crispy organic cucumber, avocado and plum tomato confit, it was such a nice surprise to me. Bravo to the chefs! All three were great.
The charred Octopus was fresh and you could tell. It stood on fava beans and vinegar glaze.
The Orzo pasta, on the other hand, was topped with grilled Sea Bream and was cooked to perfection. The fish smelled sea with Trikalinos bottarga adding more to the taste. Highly recommended!
The Skirt Steak with Thyme Mushroom puree and steamed Wild rice, was my husband’s choice. I found the puree a bit briny for my taste, but the meat had a mellow flavour. If you are a meat lover go for it!
Casserole & Fritters
We finish off with Fish ‘n’ chips. The fried fresh cod was perfectly battered with crunchy French fries, nicely assorted and sided with ‘tarama’ -the white fish egg-roe salad. Gold and crispy with no excess oil, the best I have ever had! The Wine choices, all coming from Greek wineries were recommended by the sommelier and I was well acquainted with all three. Each with its distinctive taste and aromas make that exceptional difference if paired with the right dish.
We had the Mastiha-flavoured brioche (Politiko tsoureki). A lovely presentation and hard to resist. So tasty that words fail me. Definitely worth giving it a try.
The menu at Cookoovaya restaurant is based exclusively on today’s Greek cuisine without international influences. The plates I tasted were great and burst with flavour. In all, I particularly liked Cookoovaya not just for the tasty food but also for its great service, the warmth and its Mediterranean identity which is hidden as a surprise in every bite of every dish. I found dishes light without frills or unnecessary sophistication and to conclude, I highly recommend it for all the above reasons.
Disclaimer: I was a guest at the Cookoovaya Restaurant -Athens during this visit, but the opinions expressed in this article are, as always my own.
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Have you tried the cuisine of Cookoovaya? What was your experience like? We would love to have your comments