Thursday, 20 January 2011

Gazi College: Best of Both Worlds

Today I think it's my turn to write about "Gazi College"...

Once upon a time not so long ago, a youth by the name of George embarked on an exploratory adventure of Athens. With the help of a veteran of the scene and fellow ex army postman, he discovered a sort of club called 'Mad' in an area called Gazi.

Back then there was no metro stop in the area and getting to Gazi was a matter of enduring rush-hour levels of traffic at 1am and wishing upon the god of parking for a cozy parking space to leave thy vehicle. Little did George know that not so far into the future this area would not only be a mainstream place for going out but also a five minute walk from his place of work.

This club that the boys had visited wasn't really George's cup of tea, but for only that it was one of the first steps of what was to be a great adventure, he had always held the club in a special place along with other fond memories. Therefore it was not to his liking when one day on returning home from work, his crossed the spot where the club once stood only to discover that it had been replaced by a coffee-food-maybe-bar style place called "Gazi College".

George was aware that the general area of Gazi was undergoing major changes due to the Keramikos Metro stop that had opened on the main square, and in his mind - affected by the disappointment that the physical link to one of his fondest memories was no more - this new place was just another one of the many new businesses that were popping up like mushrooms.

The story was the same for all of them: shroud businessman in suit and tie has money to invest. Throws money at consultants, financial advisers, interior decorators, cooks, bar men, blady blady bla... everything in a huge melting pot, stirs with an evil laugh, and out comes yet another soulless cafe/ bar/ restaurant.

To that end, George stayed away from this place for a long time after it had opened, until one day, around noon on a Saturday he found himself in Gazi with a friend thirsting for coffee and a snack. For no particular reason they sat at Gazi College.

Needless to say that the George in the story is me, and boy was I wrong about Gazi College. I guess every now and then the hoard of accountants, interior designers etc. get it right!

That first time we had a coffee each and two mini-burgers to share. Looking through a menu I usually get a fairly accurate vibe about a place, and it was really bugging me that I was getting a good vibe about this place. Not a huge menu, and nothing there that seemed to be there just for the sake of being there. One, Two for Four mini burgers, a choice of maybe four pizzas including the Margarita, a few salads, a few sandwiches and probably a few things I cant remember. Point is, spot on Cafe-Lunch material.

The burgers were to die for, small and succulent with tasty sauces, and best of all, served with fresh fries - and you know, when a place makes the effort to serve freshly fried crunch chips they're going to make the effort for allot more other things. Looking around a got a glimpse of the Pizzas: thin based, not too much cheese, straight out the oven. I was dead set on coming back to try them.

After going on and on about the mini-burgers, next time I went was with my burger-connoisseur friend & co. The burgers got the thumbs up - as did the interior of the place that I hadn't really noticed before. Decorated with a college-books-globes-equations-study vibe (unsurprisingly). And the music was definitely there, but at just the right volume and of just the right genre to create a pleasant atmosphere without being overwhelming. We also tried some deserts: a cheese cake and a chestnut caramel cream filled sweat bread. Thumbs up there too.

And finally, the pizza, which I had to wait one more time to try. After a Saturday of working in the office (deadlines - who needs them?!?), I went with a colleague. Two mini burgers, a Caesar salad, and a Margarita pizza all to share. The burgers where, by now, something that one can count on. The pizza, like i said, thin based, tasty sauce, not too much cheese: yum yum yum! The salad, slightly over dressed, but i think i'll give it another try. All and all a very pleasant meal.

There there it is. George on Gazi College. And why you ask the best of both worlds? In a nutshell, Gazi college combine the new with the old. A cozy place in a great area with easy access by car or public transport and good modern menu items on offer. A great place to go for a morning or afternoon coffee, brunch or lunch!

View Gazi College in a larger map

Update: 14/05/2011

The Mini Burgers

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Kozis: The Best Meat in Town

I lie. I admit. Its not the best meat in town. Unfortunately: because it is located outside of town: in the suburban region of Melisia.

Its called Kozis. The name of the place is Kozis. Kozis!

I've written the name of the place three times so it sticks with you... because the 'best meat' part is the gods honest truth!

The story goes, that after reading an article on-line about this tiny grill on I decided to visit in search of the best burger. I showed up with a bottle of my all time favourite Nandos extra hot Peri-Peri sauce for the sake of spicing up my meal. I ordered a Burger and my companion ordered a T-bone steak. We shared a caeser salad. Turns out that although Kozis could give a good fight on the 'Best Burger' front, its not worth the effort considering that its meat so much so on another level compared with most, that it just seems that meat is being wasted by everyone else.

As I gulped down the extra crunchy chips dipped in my peri-peri sauce, I caught, what seemed to be, the big cheeses eye. He recognised my Nandos peri-peri sauce (having been brought up in South Africa as is the origin or the Nandos brand) and we got into a conversation about how much we liked it and how it was a shame we couldn't get it in Greece, how I always got people travelling from the UK to bring me some and how he'd discovered an "Extra Hot Caribbean sauce" which was the closest alternative to be found. So much so was the excitement that he told his sister to bring a bottle for us on her way to work, and as we waited he proceeded to provide an large assortment of drinks for us! His name was Kozi!

View Kozis in a larger map

Kozis is a family run business named after 'Kozi' - what he was called in South Africa by his friends who couldn't pronounce 'Konstantinos'. The meat marinated in specially ordered south african spice mixtures and cooked to perfection as ordered. I recommend a caesar salad to share and a ribeye steak - end of.

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