Serving a wide range of Asian cuisines, Kitschen is a proper dim-sum bar and one that feels more like a local dive than a snob sushi place. And that’s why you need to get there fast. Oh, and a top-notch service!
It’s a Friday night and we’ve ventured out to down to Piraeus picking up a tip from a friend and chef about a new Pan-Asian joint. Labelled as a dim sum bar and having raving reviews left, right and centre, we go in with expectations modestly tempered.
The place doesn’t host more than 15 people at once so it’s good we’ve booked in advance. Too bad we haven’t been specific enough though cause we’ve been slotted to a high table in the middle of the room on stools with no back. Boy, that’s unfortunate! As much as we don’t want to be picky, we do tell one of the owners who kindly gets permission from some regulars and lets us have the seats at the bar. And along the night starts in front of the 4-manned crew at the open kitchen.
We take a look at the menu that is nicely laid out with cold and hot starters, 3 main dishes and lots of cocktails. One of the chefs in the kitchen, Dimitris Liem, is also a co-owner and kindly sets us off to a nice start offering some spicy edamame on the house. Topped with sesame seeds and charred till brown, the edamame are sprinkled with sweet soy sauce and are a killer!
You see Dimitris’ father is Chinese from Indonesia (also running Beny’s chinese restaurant a few blocks away) and knows a thing or two about Asian cuisine. He later on explains to us the dream they had when setting up shop here of serving a mix of Cantonese, Vietnamese, Japanese and Korean bites – all super dear to our heart! Spyros Minetos also has ties with Asia as his mother is from Korea.
The duo have years of experience in both food and alcohol on various placements around famous restaurants and bars of Athens like e&o, Matsuhisa and 9Beta). And the menu they’ve created is very tight allowing them to only source top quality produce on a daily basis (apart from Sundays when they’re closed).
We go for the super juicy shrimp dumplings and beetroot dumplings that both are equally interesting – especially if you like sweet and sour tastes. Moments later the crispy fried cauliflower arrives which is dressed in a spicy mayo sauce and is fricking delicious. Along with it a nasu miso dish, fried aubergine and finished off in the oven, served with fried mushrooms.
The night is on and the music too – a mix of funk, electro and tempo beats that makes a perfect combo with the neon-bright interiors designed by Fotini Troubadaki.
As we move from Negroni to single malt whiskey, the double spicy tuna roll arrives… the best dish of the house! A spicy tuna roll sprinkled with crispy fried onions and topped with a creamy tuna tartare adding some freshness to our bites. Oh dear!
We’re also taken by the creamy crab tartare that is served in a bowl and topped with chives – simply amazing.
And as we swiftly take glances left and right in this small resto bar, it’s evident that the crowd is mostly local. That this place is not about snobs but more for the unassuming foodies in search of a local joint. Yes, dishes are complex and heavy with many ingredients (at times also sweet), but the service is immaculate, the music is uplifting and the crowd is also funky. We may have skipped on the mochi ice cream, but we’re sure coming back very, very soon!