|Pork moussaka from Anatoli, Level 1, The Eastern, Oxford Street, Bondi Junction|
|The bar at Anatoli|
With an array of Greek wines on offer, it's hard to go past the very fruity recommendation of 2010 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Athiri from Santorini by the glass (tip: always get a recommendation when you can’t pronounce any of the wine labels or grapes on offer).
|The restaurant at Anatoli|
The Anatoli menu is grounded in great local produce with classic Greek influences – proffering a uniquely modern Greek-Australian take on shared plates, which I think is the perfect way put together a menu for today’s modern Australian palate.
|Eggplant, tzatziki & hummus mezethes with grilled pita|
The hummus, excellent as it was, was no match for the smoky eggplant dip, which in turn was no match for my absolute favourite dip – tzatziki, the classic Greek refreshing dip of yoghurt, garlic, lemon, cucumber and loads of fresh mint.
|Spiced school prawns & smoked chilli mayo|
The generous pot of prawns had the crunchiest possible coating and pleasantly trimmed whiskers, themselves seasoned to salty, spiced perfection. There was the smoked chilli mayonnaise for the creamy condiment-inclined, while we also requested lemon wedges for some extra zing.
|Wild mushrooms, kohlrabi & roast pinenuts|
|Pork moussaka with eggplant & gruyere|
The little cast iron pot deceived the eyes but not the stomach; densely-packed with the rich meat mixture and luxe, creamy sauce, it was a surprising struggle to clean up the entire petite pot.
|Slow cooked shoulder of lamb, roast onions, braising juices & tzatziki|
The lamb had a delightful fall-apart texture, simply using the force of a fork. The flavourful meat was lightened and enhanced with the excellent tzatziki on the side in an array of classic and clean Greek tastes.
|Roast Brussels, hazelnut, haloumi & filo|
|Ouzo with ice|
I like to add a cube or two of ice to the liquor, just so I can play around and see the ouzo go cloudy, while the aniseed-flavours are perfect with dessert and as a digestive, especially post a big meal.
|Chocolate mousse, hazelnut & burnt Gerakas honey ice cream|
|Milk pie, kumquat, honey & sesame halva|
On the whole – food, drinks, atmosphere and service – Anatoli was one of the best nights I've had out recently. No one aspect stood out acutely but the entire experience left me completely satisfied and smiling.
The departing thought was that if this is the towering levels of modern Greek-Australian cuisine in Sydney, despite challenges in the industry, Sydney dining is in a really good place.
Food, booze and shoes dined at Anatoli as a guest, with thanks to Savannah PR.