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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

1821 Greek Restaurant, Sydney

Pork belly baklava at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney

1821? It marks the start of the Greek War of Independence. It's also one of Sydney's grandest Greek restaurants to date, with over $3 million poured into the three-storey extravaganza on the former site of the Vault Hotel and Nightclub. 1821 is the third Sydney venture for Chef David Tsirekas, following on from his 17-year stint at Petersham with Perama, and the spectacularly short-lived Xanthi at Westfield Sydney, closing after just three years.

Tsirekas will be banking on third time's a charm. And his fans will be glad to see the return of Tsirekas favourites pork belly baklava for mains and caramel baklava ice cream for dessert.

Tarama swordfish roe dip at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Tarama swordfish roe dip $14

We pay a visit for Chocolatesuze's birthday, skipping the group banquets for a DIY mix from the a la carte menu. Our party of six starts with the tarama swordfish roe dip, a luscious and rich spread that we slather on toast. It's so good that we order more bread and scrape out every last morsel.

Ouzo cured salmon at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Ouzo cured salmon $27

The ouzo cured salmon offers a glimpse of summer, the curls of buttery salmon dotted with mulberries, flaked almonds and dabs of skordalia potato and garlic dip. Rough croutons are cleverly fashioned from paximadia, a traditioanl dark barley biscuit.

Sesame crusted salmon with hot quince syrup at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Sesame crusted haloumi $24

Tableside theatre accompanies the sesame crusted haloumi, with a hot quince syrup poured dramatically at the table. The sweet and tart syrup works a treat against the saltiness of the squeaky haloumi, the confit cherry tomatoes and the smattering of dried kalamata olives.

The haloumi itself is a highlight in itself, far from the usual rubberiness, instead exhibiting a gentler, softer and more springy texture.

BBQ octopus at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
BBQ octopus $27

We can smell the smokiness of the barbecue octopus as soon as it lands on the table, with a noticeable blackened char along the surface of each tentacle. The octopus is noticeably tender, served with pickled cucumber and cauliflower and a slick of swordfish tarama.

Pork belly baklava at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Pork belly baklava $28 for four pieces

Tsirekas' signature dish, his pork belly baklava, is as good as we remembered, layers of golden and flaky filo pastry atop a sweet and savoury base of pork belly, date and pistachio. A little tile of crackling is the cherry on top.

Don't even think about sharing individual pieces. While a standard serve includes four squares, the kitchen will happily expand the serving size as required.

Seafood saganaki at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Seafood saganaki $38

Seafood saganaki goes against Italian rule about mixing pasta, cheese and seafood. Here it works brilliantly. Orzo, the rice-like pasta commonly known as risoni, is cooked in a rich tomato sauce with prawns, black mussels and blue eye fillet. Melted kasseri cheese binds everything together, its sharp saltiness revealing itself in gooey elastic strings.

BBQ lamb shoulder at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
BBQ lamb shoulder $39

And you can't eat Greek without having lamb. The barbecue lamb shoulder is a twice-cooked hulk of protein, first slow-roasted and then grilled so the skin takes on a caramelised crisp.

The lamb is so tender it falls straight off the bone. Wilted silverbeet and leeks and a puddle of herbed yoghurt provide some relief from the carnivorous feast.

Yia yia's hand cut chips at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Yia yia's hand cut chips $14

Yia yia's hand cut chips are chips done good, smothered in a mountain of crumbled feta, dried oregano and a quivering fried egg. Dip the chips in that gooey egg yolk and savour the salty feta tang.

Roast duck gyros at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Roast duck gyros

A surprise serve of complimentary roast duck gyros arrives from the kitchen, apparently acting on instruction from Chef Tsirekas after noticing Suze's pics on Instagram (busted!).

Roast duck gyros with chips at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Duck gyros with chips

The roast duck gyros isn't on the menu but it should be, a delicious mess of juicy roast duck and refreshing slaw on a fluffy mini pita round. Add a couple of chips for extra crunch and it's even better!

Caramel baklava ice cream with baklava at 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney
Caramel baklava ice cream with baklava

And before we even have a chance to look at the dessert menu, the kitchen sends out a complimentary serve of caramel baklava ice cream with baklava. This is another Tsirekas classic, combining baklava, caramel sauce and ice cream in one frozen mouthful. (Note: We do leave a larger tip that covers the cost of both complimentary dishes)

A comprehensive wine list offers plenty of celebratory drinks for the afternoon. The boys drink their way around Greece with five local beers on offer.

There's plenty to like about 1821 from the cosy banquette seating for small groups to the dramatic high ceilings and ornate features throughout. An accessible menu includes traditional Greek dishes and modern adaptations as well as that irresistible pork belly baklava.

Entrance to 1821 Greek restaurant in Sydney

1821 Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

1821 - Made in Greece
122 Pitt Street, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8080 7070

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday 12pm-12am
Sunday 12pm-10pm

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9 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 7/04/2017 12:54:00 am


  • At 7/04/2017 10:46 am, Anonymous Bianca@forfoodssake said…

    I had a so/so experience at 1821, I wanted to love it but the food just lacked any real wow factor for me. Perhaps I got them on a bad night....

  • At 7/04/2017 10:59 am, Blogger 17th stitch said…

    Your writing and photos make me want to move to Sydney! Great article, as always. I check your website when American politics is making me sad, and you never fail to cheer me up.

  • At 7/04/2017 2:56 pm, Anonymous Best Restaurants of Australia said…

    Oh wow this looks amazing, what a divine Greek feast!

  • At 7/05/2017 2:42 pm, Blogger Divegurl said…

    Phwoar! So much delicious food porn in this post.

  • At 7/08/2017 9:36 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fabulous food but one major disappointment was that we ordered two mains and made it very clear to server that one couple in our party was having the lamb and the other couple was having the chicken. Despite this the lamb dish was finished, and we had waited until it started to get cold, before the chicken dish even appeared - we asked several times and were just told it was coming. So, apart from starters, we didn't get to eat together which really took the shine off a special celebration evening. Server did not understand or speak English very well - kept telling us she had only ben in Australia 4 days. This probably didn't help.

  • At 7/08/2017 7:29 pm, Anonymous Tania|MyKitchenstories. said…

    Funny thing is I was peering into the window at 1821 today wishing I could eat there. looks great

  • At 7/11/2017 10:36 am, Blogger Ramen Raff said…

    So glad the pork belly baklava is back and love yia yia's hand cut chips!

  • At 7/11/2017 1:54 pm, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    yasss that pork belly baklava was so fricken good!

  • At 7/12/2017 2:03 pm, Anonymous sara | belly rumbles said…

    Glad to see David Tsirekas has a new venue again. Love his modern take on Greek food, can't wait to check it out.


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