A rare and welcome gift from the Gods
Much to the dismay of those with a special place in their heart for Greek food, Bangkok’s dining scene has long endured an almost criminal dearth of this enchanting Mediterranean cuisine—but suffer shall we no more.
Rising from the mid-Sukhumvit culinary clutter like a Parthenon of Hellenic delights, this charming eatery, located just a short stroll down Soi 33, sets the gold standard for local Greek dining with authentic ingredients and modern creative flair that pays due homage to the country’s millennia-long cooking arts heritage.
An impressively expansive menu includes all the perennial favourites the informed Greco-gastrophile might expect, prepared with thoughtful touches that give the cooking here a character and quality that transcend the genre.
Tzatziki, the ubiquitous condiment that thinks it’s a side dish, can indeed be ordered as a side (B180), however it’s included with many of the mains and starters. Made with thick-set yogurt, garlic, cucumber and olive oil, tzatziki goes perfectly with just about anything that comes out of a Greek kitchen.
We starter-ed with the Piperies Gemisti (B240), an oven baked bell pepper bursting with ground beef and seasoned rice, while the highly recommended Saganaki (B240) uses grilled, thick-sliced strips of imported Graviera cheese (similar to Italian Pecorino sardo) and surrenders a satisfyingly firm bite and clean flavour enhanced with a pre-plating cognac flambé.
Next came Dolmadakia (B315), the moist vine leaf rolls stuffed with seasoned rice and herbs. The warm, freshly-made wraps—some of the best we’ve had anywhere—are generously-sized with a luxuriously textured filling, while the accompanying tzatziki makes for a palate-dazzling marriage made in heaven (or Mount Olympus, take your pick).
The Mousaka (B430) features a layer of spiced ground beef topped with thick potato and eggplant slices and creamy-smooth béchamel sauce. A no less-satisfying vegetarian version (B380) replaces the beef with minced mushroom.
A quick meal fixture at diners and walk-up stalls the world over,
Gyros Kotopuolo (B290) is grilled, shaved chicken kebab—Avra’s is impossibly tender and exquisitely seasoned, served open-faced on pita bread with fresh tomato, onion, baked potato wedges and tzatziki (conventional pita “pocket” sandwich plating on request).
And if it’s char-grilled BBQ goodness you crave, the Xorino Souvlaki (B350) will undoubtedly satisfy. The moist and tender charcoal spit-roasted pork skewers are served with veggies, fries and (once again) tzatziki.
Just as Italy has tiramisu, India its gulab jamun and the USA its apple pie, Greece has Baklava (B210). The house rendition of this beloved heritage dessert offers crispy-browned layers of delicate Phyllo dough with a sweet minced-nut filling, topped with honey and chopped walnuts and pistachios. Succulently warm and utterly irresistible, this would be a mandatory dessert if ‘Food Police’ were an actual thing.
Note: Vegetarians will appreciate the abundance of meatless choices on Avra’s menu that even meat-eaters will savour.
Avra Greek Restaurant
GF, Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit
1 Soi Daengudom, Sukhumvit Soi 33
Open: Tue-Fri, noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm, Sat-Sun, noon-11pm, Mon, 6pm-11pm
Tel: 02 258 2877 | www.avrabkk.com