Athens: rare meat dining at Drakoulis Meat Open Project Cellar
It's official, Athens is still exploring new culinary trends and rare steaks is definitely one of them. Drakoulis Meat Shop has certainly attracted the headlines in recent months with its haute meat shopping experience when it expanded from Nea Smyrni to Voula in the southern suburbs of Attica. And along with it, launched the Cellar Project as a restaurant means to showcase the best of what you can buy.
Surely when you first enter the Drakoulis Meat Open Project Cellar shop in Voula you're astounded by the dark (almost pitch-black) surroundings, the loud music and the clean-cut atmosphere. Transparent glass carefully lit fridges stack all various prime cuts in a neat order, displaying the very best of fine meat such as Kobe, Tomahawk and Black Angus.
The tables are set and waiting downstairs, although to get a real feel you probably should cater for a table upstairs. There's only one sharing table but surely if you book in advance you must be able to get some of those seats for your dinner.
Going through appetizers and salad is easy. Although there are many options, you don't want to waste your appetite to small stuff. Yes, the Wagyu carpaccio was tender enough and had a special tangy yuzu sauce on top. Yes, the tartar was equally tasty. And, yes, the Ceasar's salad is also good. But that's not why you're there. The steaks is indeed the reason!
For the steaks, you have to go upstairs and talk to the butcher (or chef Michalis Merkenzis) himself in order to make sure you get the one you like. All sorts of varieties, cuts and level of fat - and all a bit pricey. Given our eagerness to taste a bit of everything, we went for the juicy Black Angus Ribeye served with a delicious pot of potato, egg yawk and truffle, the tender Wagyu Porterhouse and a humble tagliata. All were exquisite, carefully cooked to perfection! The wine collection is also extensive although the bar weighs towards the foreign ones.
In the end we washed down all the sweet fat residue with a dark chocolate profiteroles (filled with ice cream rather than creme pattiserie) that both looked and tasted delicious.
All in all a great experience!