Avro Estiatorio’s four month-old AVRA Miami at The Estates at ACQUALINA in Sunny Isles Beach FL has already attracted strong local following – this is not really surprising given that there are now five AVRAs across the US. See a sample dish, above. AVRA’s a collaboration between Marc Packer, Nick Pashalis and Nick Tsoulos and it is renowned for seafood, vegetables and hand-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. Designed by STA Architectural Group it’s a large space, a 330-seater with 22-seat, 360-degree bar and an expansive seafood display like those found at traditional Greek markets.
The wine list has more than 1,200 varieties and spans the globe. Greek spirits include ouzos and mastichas, and cocktails offer: Helios Heat with Creyente Mezcal, Diplomatico and fresh Spicy Mango; Santorini with Hendrick’s Gin, Crop Cucumber, Basil, Giffard Pamplemousse; and Cyprus Serpent with Maestro Doble Diamante, Combier Orange, Agave Lime.
Well, the food world lurches from event to event. Hardly recovered from Burns Night, hotels are publicising Valentine’s night. In New York, THE LOWELL’s Majorelle offers cardiac-crunching choices for its three-course romantic menu on Tuesday 14th February. Try Foie gras with Sauterne, follow on to Beef fillet with chestnuts, and finish with Grand Marnier soufflé. That’s $195++ per person, plus drinks and if you want to finish with mint tea add a further $9.
Looking further ahead, there will be a new Akdeniz restaurant at CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI, Istanbul, by end of June. It’s by Esra Muslu, 44, known for her Zahter restaurant in London. She sounds great. Her favourite comfort food is gözleme, Turkey’s unleaven dough pasties filled with ground beef, or herbs, or cheese, or anything. She recalls her grandmother and mother bottling produce all sumer long for use in winter. In summer, her family went to beach areas for months: “In the morning, the milkman would come and Mum would buy raw milk and make fırın sütlaç. We’d come home from the beach about 6pm and this cold, thick rice pudding would be waiting for us in the fridge”. She’s obviously down-to-earth and fun-with-history, just like the new-look hotel, currently being re-designed by decorator and Ottoman art expert Serdar Gülgün.