On the outskirts of Plaka, at number 48 Nikis Street, two men, owner Elias Gogos, chef and restaurant developer, and talented chef, Harris Nikolouzos, decided to join forces after making names each for themselves separately. Inspired by all that this country has to offer, from meat to fish, homemade pasta and traditional pies, combined with herbs, seasonings and all kinds of edible flowers of particular savoury and therapeutic value, plus cold cuts from small producers all over Greece, Elias and Harris combined their talents together at 2 Mazi restaurant, at Nikis str. in the center of Athens.
The space is stylish and elegant but without being overpowering, three specially positioned windows are a source of natural lighting while also affording a discreet view over Nikis Street.
The service – somewhat theatrical but courteous and with just the right amount of familiarity – makes you feel relaxed and at home. Even more so when chef Harris appears, with his usual genial air. Although at 28, he is perhaps the youngest of the chefs of the new generation, he has plenty of experience to fall back on, having learned the art of cooking under celebrity chef Ettore Botrini on his native island of Corfu and later in charge of the well-known Dionysos restaurant opposite the Acropolis for two years. (Botrini’s famous, highly regarded restaurant, Etrusco, is in Corfu.)
“Our aim is to awaken all the senses, to reintroduce known but forgotten tastes, and to create new ones that will delight your palate,” Harris explains and suggests that we begin with a welcome koulouri (sesame ring) from Thessaloniki, carob bread and focaccia with thyme in an impressive presentation, followed by a divine velouté of pumpkin, which had at its center a ball of smoked bacon ice cream, perfumed with lavender, resting on chopped pistachios. After this we succumbed to Corfiot salt cod morsels accompanied by warm potato foam, egg yolk and shavings of Trikalinos avgotaraho (bottarga); sea bass with wild fennel risotto, courgettes (cut to resemble fish scales!) and sliced fennel bulb; Mikrolimano sauteed shrimp a la Haris, linguini with shrimps tartare, wild red rocket, a bisque sauce, rosemary oil and shrimp oil; and marinated veal cheeks, roasted in a slow oven for 3½ hours with potato puree, dried onions, shrimp crisps with spetsieriko, a Corfiot mixture of 16 spices.
2 Mazi restaurant
Open Monday – Sunday from 12:30pm
Parking available alongside the restaurant