Athens: a mix of a New York Parisian elegance at Queen Bee
Rarely there is a new entry in town that attracts not only the buzz of the foodies and entertainment aficionados, but one that provides substance too. Queen Bee, with an almost all-day café and food service (dinner service launched this month), right in the heart of Kolonaki in central Athens is here to stay!
Moving at a slow but stead pace the masterminds behind Capanna, the Italian joint 2 blocks up the street from Queen Bee, as well as other prior successes have recently launched Queen Bee as the Athenian Bakehouse. Most of the focus was initially given to the baked goods of the house with chef Κamel Saci who's previously worked on places like Aubaine in London next to other French experts. With a slightly American fare - For Five coffee beans are being directly sourced from Brooklyn on a weekly basis- and the robustness of a French bistro, Queen Bee has all the buzz you could imagine for all-day dining and people watching.
As you walk in through the rounded glass door, you immediately notice the bronze engraved sign on the floor with the big bee. The focus shifts quickly to the open window full of baked goods as your nose catches the smell of the goodies on offer. After all, K-studio and the renowned Karabatakis brothers have done an excellent job in designing the interiors (think lighting fixtures directly sourced from New York and hand-painted black and gold typography on the windows), but still we're here for the love of food.
The menu is full of pastries, one of which you must not miss: the double-baked croissants filled with almond cream and sprinkled with powder sugar! Eggs are daily on the menu too, scrambled, poached or fried, although one must go for the avo toast (yes, it's a thing already in Athens too!) or the egg (brioche) breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs, caramelised onions and cheddar cheese. Chia seeds are also available (oh my god all this globalisation) on the berry breakfast bowl, specially prepared with a handmade jam (no sugar) and granola. And, before we forget, there is also some kick-ass orange juice (and other smoothies) served chilled, as well as an espresso on the rocks (not quite the same as the shaken espresso Greeks call freddo).
However, this is not the real reason for making it to Queen Bee in Kolonaki. The real reason lies behind an excellent team that has paid all the right attention to all little details: from impeccable and very friendly service, to little cutlery and other cookware to complement your brunch table (hint: just look at the honeycomb-shaped marble salt-and-pepper holders!). Well done team! Chef Stamatis Marmarinos, under the guidance of restauranter Panagiotis Kalyvas have made a big bang in the Athenian food scene.
Oh, and mind you, chef Sam Lamboglia (remember Bar Primi in New York?) has been quite busy over the last two weeks preping up the team for the big opening of their dinner service later on this month. Think juicy burgers and truffle infused dishes. We're soon going to be back guys!