1821 Greek Restaurant has a new chef, new menu and a new look. We see how it compares to its former self.
A lot can change in 18 months in the Sydney food scene. Restaurants close, new ones open. Chefs move on, menus get updated. The last time I dined at Greek CBD restaurant, 1821 I left underwhelmed. The menu was heavy and the staff were inexperienced. I was reluctant to revisit but I was told they’d made some changes, a new chef, new staff and a new look.
The layout of the restaurant has subtly changed. The middle bar has been moved to one side against the giant chiselled brick Greek flag making it feel more open and spacious and allowing for more diners. The colour palette is more neutral with less obvious Greek references and they’ve added a 10-seater chef’s table.
Leading 1821’s new culinary direction is Executive Chef George Economidis, owner of the highly reviewed BlueFish Restaurants group in Greece. His experience operating three award winning restaurants brings a more refined menu with an international influence. The menu has a heavy seafood focus. You’ll find kingfish in some shape or form listed at least five times across starters, entrees and mains.
Seafood hits include kingfish takaki with avocado cream and chilli salad ($22), scallops done in a tomato coulis with a feta mousse ($29) and grilled octopus with fava purée and ponzu olive oil emulsion ($30). Not very Greek sounding right? I told you things have changed.
Don’t worry, you can still get lamb on the menu. It’s served souvla style with crackling, potato purée and pistachio crumble ($33). You can also order oven roast chicken with okra and carrot purée ($35), beef shin ragu ($33) and oven roasted pork with leek and lemon sauce ($35) from the mains section. They also have a selection of hot and cold mezzedes.
The desserts are significantly less Greek with your choice of a semifreddo, pavlova and cremeux. Thankfully they still have the galaktoboureko ($17).
The drinks menu has improved significantly, so has the staff’s knowledge. There are plenty of interesting Greek wines to try along with an enticing cocktail list. The Tears & Tonic ($21) is a winning combination of Gin Mare Mediterranean, Skinos Mastiha, lemon peel, olive and thyme served with Fever Tree tonic.
In it’s newest form 1821 is definitely a more enjoyable dining experience and worth visiting (or revisiting). Last time I left uncomfortably full, this time much lighter. A lot has changed, but perhaps the only thing that hasn’t are the prices. You’re paying around the same for smaller portions but better quality dishes. Based on our experience you’ll need to order and spend more. I’m happy with that but some may argue this isn’t “the Greek way”.
Monday – Saturday: Lunch 12 – 3pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 9:45pm
Sunday: Lunch 12 – 3pm, Dinner 5:30pm – 8:45pm