CHEAP retsina wine with a hint of pine resin and turps, sparkling green/blue ocean, white beaches – and eating lamb’s testicles. That was my first visit to Greece.
For the record the testicles were actually delicious, dainty pieces of what I thought was pate, served on toothpicks.
Not that it was on offer at Estia in Mt Lawley when the D’Angers rocked up recently.
Named for the Greek goddess of home, hearth and family the eatery exuded a pleasant homeliness and we were greeted by broad smiles that never faulted as tables rapidly filled.
Over his more than 40 years in the industry owner Vassi Loucaides has worked at a number of restaurants including the old King Arthur’s revolving restaurant and more recently the Aegean in Mt Hawthorn.
Checking out the dessert menu, we decided they were too tempting to leave to chance — so we skipped entrees to make sure there was room at the end.
At the ripe old age of 55 my brother has never eaten moussaka ($34), but from the first mouthful was won over.
“It’s great,” he said with a passionate delivery that belied its brevity.
Estia brings a modern twist to the traditional dishes, and the eggplant is leavened with potato and zucchini to ensure a lighter texture, Katerina Loucaides tells the Voice.
“With pulled lamb…it’s a deconstruction. When I saw the chef making it I thought ‘that’s not what my mother taught me’.”
My lovely sister-in-law Sally ordered the risotto, with house-made chicken sausage, pumpkin, pine nuts, spinach and crumbled feta ($30). The chubby, moist grains of rice held their texture without a hint of glugginess and the mix of flavours was fantastic.
D’Angerous Dave reckoned the psari — barramundi done Greek style — was the goer, and he wasn’t wrong.
Topped with a tomato and caper salsa the chunk of baked fish came with lemon infused slices of potato, and a fantastic maroulosalata (classic greek salad).
Loukoumathes is Greek for doughnuts ($12), a massive serve of feather-light balls with rosewater, ouzo and honey syrup with pistachio and cinnamon. Made the old way the dough is “popped through fingers” to make a bubble: “Which is caught with a spoon,” Katerina says.
The spoon, designed for doughnut making, was handed down by her mother:
“Everyone has to be very careful of that spoon,” she laughs.
We also tried the baklava, which was magnificent and unlike any eaten before, with none of the overpowering sweetness often found, and perfect with a good coffee.
Open Tues 5pm, Wed–Fri 11am–3pm & 5–9pm, Sun breakfast to dinner
Estia Cafe Restaurant
836 Beaufort Street, Inglewood