Stunning beaches with sand as white as the houses belonging to the little fishing village, which, unfazed by the heat, lies at the foot of one of the island’s gentle slopes; a picture-perfect view, perfectly framed by the glittering blue of the Aegean Sea. Welcome to a Greek cliché? No, welcome to Patmos, Dimitris Pamporis’ place of work!
This charismatic chef in his early thirties, who would have liked to have become a guitarist in a rock band, counteracts his imposing appearance with an exceptional level of skill in the kitchen. In fact, it is he who is responsible for the fact that Patmos is not just listed as a top insider tip in travel agencies, but also in the leading gourmet guidebooks. It is for that reason that the Apocalypsis Restaurant has been named the Best Restaurant in Greece, officially making it the number one address for food connoisseurs in a country that already boasts more than its fair share of culinary delights.
Greek delights – that is also the buzzword around which everything at Apocalypsis Restaurant revolves. A buzzword that makes it clear, as you sit at the tables overlooking the white sand and the sparkling sea, that clichés have no place here. In fact, Dimitris Pamporis pursues a fascinating combination of tradition and modernity in his kitchen.
You can’t create a first-class dish without first-class ingredients. You must first learn where you come from before you can take the next evolutionary step.
In order to avoid losing himself in clichés, the chef also insists that both he and his cooks undergo continued professional development. This could be as the result of the use of new technologies or to keep up with the most recent culinary trends, but more often than not it is to do with creativity. The most important things to do are to constantly push the boundaries and to update the existing menu to ensure that it always remains attractive.
Dimitris Pamporis already had a firm belief in this philosophy during his time on the island of Mykonos, where he first dipped his toe into the world of Mediterranean cuisine at the Grecotel Mykonos Blu, a well-established five star hotel, as well as at Avra. However, it was a trip to L’Auberge de l’Ill, the restaurant run by the acclaimed three star chef Marc Haeberlin, in 2013 that further reinforced Pamporis’ will to constantly strive towards unconventional approaches and solutions. He was already the head chef at Apocalypsis Restaurant by this time.
Pamporis’ menus are ecstatic compositions of unique flavours, colours and shapes. To coin yet another Greek cliché, it is an experience that will make your tastebuds dance the Sirtaki.
The dance starts off gently with the deliciously tart shrimp tartare with black roe mayonnaise and pickled vegetables. Then it becomes thrilling, just like the modern twist on the traditional Greek dish, giouvetsi, which Pamporis makes using sea urchin. The dance then reaches its euphoric peak with the roast lamb, which is cooked at a low temperature, and which is combined with smoked aubergine purée, stewed tomatoes, potato casserole and refreshing yoghurt. It is dishes such as these that make you wish this dance would never end. They are testament to Pamporis’ goal of surprising and inspiring his guests.
As luck would have it, you won’t need to wait until next summer to see Dimitris Pamporis in action. In January he will be appearing as a guest chef at Restaurant Ikarus in Salzburg, where he will be making Austrian tastebuds dance the Sirtaki too with his modern take on Greek cuisine.
ServusTV: Culinary Heights at Ikarus on ServusTV
Each month at Salzburg’s two Michelin-starred Restaurant Ikarus, a different top international chef creates the menu. For this globally unique concept, Hangar-7 executive chef Martin Klein visits the cream of the crop, takes a look behind the scenes of haute cuisine, and is let in on some exciting culinary secrets. “Culinary Heights at Ikarus” offers a unique glimpse into the world of high-end cuisine and provides an interesting portrait of each guest chef, their culinary philosophy, and the food culture of their country.