Admittedly, Athens is no real contender when it comes to the grilled juicy bites of a robata grill. Thankfully, Ari Vezene knows something about grilling and he lately opened Birdman, a Japanese pub, right in the heart of Athens claiming a first! It may be well overpriced but it is indeed delicious.
Tucked away in a small and narrow block-to-block space, close to other prominent food establishments around Syntagma, Birdman is where you’d go for a casual midweek early dinner with a party size of four at best! Set along the wide bar is the only space for diners that sit on high chairs rubbing shoulders with each other. The interiors, colored in a subdued olive green hue and bolstered with wooden sidetops and bar shelves are a warm welcome but don’t really make the Japanese effect one would expect at an original joint.
The menu is not that long and if you’re anything like me you will definitely be tempted to try everything on it! It starts with some small bites, out of which we singled out the beef tartare and the beef tataki. They also feature a whole section of wagyu beef nigiris that can be quite tasty (although very salty for the average diner), as well as all sorts of chicken bites: thighs, wings… even hearts! Really?
Wagyu beef nigiri
Above all, are the delicious finger-licking burgers they’ve recently added on the menu: think chicken katsu and smash burger – oh my, we couldn’t decide which one is best! And then, the beef ramen (a rarity in Athens) which is also enough for a wholesome meal unless you’re sharing.
If you’re really up for something heavy but heavenly, then you must also try their Udon Carbonara! It is served with a semi-boiled egg yolk that you can brake and stir it with the creamy noodles.
To top it all off, Vezenes offers a very robust dessert ranking quite high, despite personally not being that much of a sweet tooth. Miso pie with yoghurt and a dollop of caramel sauce! All in all, some delicious juicy bites that we’ll certainly want to try again but with such prices that may steer us away from Vezenes’ new joint.
Chuck flap tataki
Miso pie with yoghurt
In 2022, they’ve also launched a sister outpost named EKIBEN Kitchen a few meters down the same road for their takeaway and delivery service, where also they do a high-table service of just a few spots. The reason why you’d wanna know that is that they now serve their famous smash burger and chicken katsu sando exclusively there!