When on vacation, dining at a hotel restaurant usually can never compare to venturing out to a local favorite. However, at Athen’s Sofitel Hotel Chef Theofanis Stathis creates a menu worth staying in for.
By Michelle M. Winner
Image: Sofitel Athens Airport
Eating at a hotel restaurant is usually not my choice if something else is available. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality of the restaurants at three Sofitel Hotels. The first, located south of San Francisco in San Mateo, another outside of Athens, Greece at the Athens airport, and one in the heart of New York City. The key here is that Sofitel sets a high bar for restaurant dining and has exceptional chefs.
I adore Sofitel New York City’s Gaby Restaurant run by French Master Chef Sylvain Harribey. Executive Chef Alejandro Abad’s California cuisine at Bay 223 is thoughtful and well received in the Bay area. I would like to introduce another Sofitel chef; Executive Chef Theofanis Stathis at the Sofitel Athens, Greece airport. Chef Stathis is a member of the prestigious Chef’s Club in Greece, a member of the National Culinary Team and a recognized teacher with over 20 years in the Athenian market. Chef currently presides over the Restaurant Mesoghaia and the Karavi at Sofitel.
One of the reasons that I love to stay at Sofitel Athens Airport, is because I can get a sound night’s sleep, waking refreshed for my long flight home to the USA. But I also get to enjoy Chef Stathis’ traditional Greek breakfast. The next trip however, I am going to try his restaurant for dinner before I drift off to sleep. Taking a look at his recipe you’ll soon see why.
- 200 gr. (7 ounces) of toasted white bread
- One handful of fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 clove of garlic
- 40 gr. (1.4 ounces) grated parmesan cheese
- Ground pepper and salt
- 600 gr. (1.3 pounds) of lamb filet (8 pieces)
- 150 gr. (5.3 ounces) Caul fat
- 50 gr. (1.7 ounces) whole grain mustard
- Olive oil
- 200 ml. (6.7 fluid ounces) of beef jus
- 20 gr. (0.7 ounces) fresh butter
- 1 tbsp. dried lemon verbena
- Salt and pepper
- 200 gr. (7 ounces) trahana
- 2 shallots
- 1 clove garlic
- Fresh thyme
- Chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 4-5 leaves of fresh pepper mint
- 30 gr. (1 ounces) crumbled Feta cheese
- Olive oil
- Half tomato without the skin and deseeded cut in small cubes
- Few wild mushrooms such as Chanterelle, Shiitake, Trumpet etc. Sauted with fresh butter
- Baby glazed carrots
- In a food processor add all the ingredients for the crust except the parmesan cheese and pulse a few seconds at a time, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- When it’s ready add in the parmesan cheese and pulse for one last time.
- Take the lamb fillets remove the silver skin, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and brush the mustard all over the fillets.
- Place two fillets together lengthwise and coat them with the herb mixture. Repeat the processes for the rest of the fillets.
- Now open the caul fat and wrap around the two fillets. Forming a roll. Using cling film, wrap tight and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours
- Preheat the oven at 160 Celsius degrees and cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Bring chicken stock up to the boil in stock pot..
- In separate pan put some olive oil and sweat the chopped shallots, garlic and few sprigs of fresh thyme.
- Add the trahana and put in the chicken stock just as you make a risotto. Finish with mint, tomato cubes, crumbled feta cheese and some olive oil. Season to taste.
- For the sauce bring the beef jus up to the boil add the verbena.
- Remove from heat and let it sit for 30 minutes, then pass the jus through a fine sieve.
- Bring back to boil and reduce until desired consistency.
- When ready, whisk in the fresh butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Suggested Greek wine: AVATON GEROVASILEIOU