From tzatziki and dolmades to Greek ‘san choy bau’ and moussaka with mushrooms and truffle, 1821 offers Greek cuisine which is traditional, warm and comforting at heart with a distinctly contemporary and refined style.
Behind a charming heritage facade near Martin Place, 1821’s tall glass windows give passersby a view of the two-storey restaurant, which is buzzing with life. Inside, the large, open dining space features high ceilings supported by columns and various Greek references including a striking feature wall emblazoned with the Greek flag and red pendant lamps with black tassels reminiscent of traditional Greek guards’ hats.
Cocktails: ‘Passion of Paros’ ($19) & ‘Aegean’ ($21)
Alongside the food menu, 1821 offers an extensive beverage list featuring Greek aperitifs, beer, wine and cocktails with names like the ‘Spartan’s Mistress’. My partner opted for the ‘Aegean’, a blend of dark rum, Jacoulot Creme de Pomegranate, fresh lime juice, blueberry jam, house-made spicy lemon syrup and egg white — a delicious, punchy cocktail full of full-bodied sweet, spicy and sour elements. For myself, I chose the ‘Passion of Paros’ with Absolut vanilla, Passoa (passionfruit liqueur), passionfruit puree, vanilla sugar, fresh lemon and Chandon Brut. I loved the sourness of this drink, which was mellowed out slightly by the vanilla sugar and a burst of bubbles from the Chandon.
Mixed Dips ($22)
To start, we couldn’t go past the mixed dips served with warm pita bread — a selection including tarama (swordfish roe dip), tzatziki (yoghurt, garlic, carrot and cucumber) and melitzana, an eggplant dip with a strong smokey flavour. Although taramasalata is normally a shade of pink, I’ve learnt that this is widely due to dye! 1821’s version, which uses swordfish roe as opposed to cod roe, was a soft beige colour with a wonderful texture and a delicious, briny flavour. Highly recommended!
Saganaki Cheese ($28)
Without a doubt, one of my favourite dishes of the evening. Consisting of oven-baked vlahotiri cheese, which was crisp and golden on the outer edges with a soft, warm centre. Served with honey, mint, lemon zest and crumbled olives, which provided an exceptional balance of sweet, salty and sour. Absolutely delicious, I’d advise all cheese-lovers to try this, stat!
Stuffed Eggplant ($24)
Soft eggplant stuffed with deliciously savoury and well-seasoned tomato, onion and fresh herbs, served with skordalia (smooth potato and garlic mash/dip) and a mint and lentil salad. A fantastic vegan option, which was warm and hearty with bright flavours and freshness lent from the abundance of herbs.
Baked Whole Snapper ($45)
For the main event, we chose a baked whole snapper stuffed with lemon, dill, chilli and capsicum, with Greek olive oil and a fresh herb salad. Cooked absolutely perfectly, the fish was soft, succulent and full of delicate flavour. I’ll have to admit, however, I had major food envy when the BBQ lamb shoulder arrived at the table across from us…I’ll be returning soon to try that for sure!
Caramel Baklava Ice Cream ($17)
Layered with vanilla bean ice cream, caramel fudge and baklava nuts, this dessert was truly spectacular! The ice cream was light and smooth, which contrasted with the rich, amber-coloured caramel and texture lent from the crushed pistachios. Order this, even if you think you can’t fit it in.
Although I adore the cuisine, I haven’t tried many of the high-end Greek restaurants in Sydney. Out of the ones I have, however, 1821 easily secures the top spot. There is a beautiful sense of history and national pride that exudes from the venue, which is modern and elegant without losing its authentically Greek essence. Must try’s are the cocktails, mixed dips, saganaki cheese and that sumptuous caramel baklava ice cream.
Get cash back when you dine at this venue!
1821 is currently offering new diners 10% instant cashback (5% thereafter) through the PokitPal app! All you have to do is download the app, link your MasterCard and pay with that card when you visit — no need to show the app or produce vouchers. Such an amazing service!
This post is based on my experience at 1821, sponsored by PokitPal. All opinions, comments and photos are 100% honest and my own.
122 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8080 7070
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