Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 9/20/20
There’s a light breeze over the patio that’s randomly dotted with mosaic tile in blue and white patterns. The smell of candles and the ocean can be felt throughout the place, reminiscent of a warm night in Santorini or after a long walk through the Parthenon. With Kyma in Buckhead, you don’t need to get on a plane and head to Greece, because you can visit right here in Atlanta. The décor is pitch perfect with a lighted night sky inside to the beautifully crafted fireplace outside. Beautiful. But the best thing? The Food! Authentic Greek traditional fare elevated by carefully curated spices, flavors, and textures that work in harmony to create unforgettable dishes like lamb pie, Tsipoura fish, Octopus Mini, tartare trio, lamb chops, and everything else on this elegant menu. Let’s take a tour of Greece.
Starting with the array of meze that Chef Pano generously sent our way, we tried the Calamari, tartare trio (special of the night), lamb pie, Octopus Mini, spinach pie, and cheese. Starting with our two favorites, the Octopus Mini and the lamb pie, both bites were spot on! The Octopus Mini was the stand-out favorite meze of the tasting with the truly perfect cooked octopus, charred, and was almost like eating a very tender pork loin with a slight char and pop of the skin. Simply presented and seasoned well, it was the best octopus dish we’ve ever tasted. Just imagine this wonderful meat paired with capers and red onion to give it a little bite and earthiness. This is a must try. Second, the lamb pie, was everything you’d think and more with the crunch of the pastry, the spicy and flavorful lamb inside, and mixed with the yogurt to cool it down. It’s no wonder this beautiful dish is so tender, it’s cooked for 12-hours! Still thinking about this dish!
Everything else was just stellar, like the Calamari was cut into noodle-like strips and mixed with a creamy yogurt and bright zucchini to round out the fun dish that you can mix together yourself. We’ve never seen anything plated and done this way. We really thought it was spectacular! The special of the night was the tartare trio with tuna topped with caviar (fave), sea bass with spices and lemon, and salmon mixed with yogurt. All of them were savory, sweet, and a great little bite! Eat it with a spoon or on the crisp bread, either way you’ll really like these! One of John’s favorites was the cheese meze. It’s a Kasseri cheese that’s been sautéed and comes off rich and almost meaty, then finished off with ouzo for a boozy bite, lemon for brightness, and olive oil for earthiness. One of the best little cheeses you can ever get. Nothing screams Greece than a traditional spinach pie, AMIRIGHT? One of the staples we love in Greek food is always the spinach pie, but these little bites were just dynamite with a crispy shell and the spinach and feta came together exactly right. You can’t go wrong with anything or any of these bites.
In between the meze and the entrée we got a break to cool it down with a trio of three salads. The watermelon, beet, and the Greek were all something you’d expect to be on a Greek menu, but they all have something that really make them stand-out. Take the watermelon and feta with the minty freshness and topped with a watermelon sorbet that cools and it melts and mixes well with the fresh watermelon and salty, creamy feta cubes. Yes, SORBET! As for the beet salad, it too is topped with a beet sorbet and boasts an array of beets, nuts, and an amazingly paired with warm sheep’s milk cheese. Creamy, earthy, and warm. Finally, The Greek is just a perfectly seasoned and hearty cucumber, tomato, olive oil and basil. Simple and perfect.
As the night progressed, the sun started to set, and Chef Pano wowed us with the Tsipouri reveal from under a bed of grape leaves to show a whole fish, cooked with salt and seasoned with spices and simple lemon. They took it away to take the bones out and to butterfly it, but it was so fun to watch those grape leaves come off! Once the fish got back to the table, it was just as we thought, flaky and light with the right amount of seasoning, lemon, and slightly buttered olive oil that Chef Pano makes in house. It came with an assortment of sides and lamb chops. The lamb chops were perfectly cooked and had an amazing seasoning that gave the hearty lamb a little spice and a little earthiness. Roll them around in the tzatziki sauce, you won’t be sorry! As for the sides, the eggplant was amazing, like a hearty stew, with tender eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Then, add in the bright and tender kale wilted and seasoned with a generous amount of lemon. The both went well with the full-flavor and flakiness of the fish.
These amazing bites were perfectly paired with the Morpheus and Thirsty Philosopher cocktail, as well as a stellar Greek wine that drinks like a pinot grigio, called Boutari, a Moscofilero from Mantinia, Greece. The Morpheus was the favorite with a velvety and earthy gin mixed with St. elder, simple syrup, and hibiscus. Sweet and lively with a hint of booze on the back, just like we like it! The Thirsty Philosopher is a simple cucumber vodka drink with hints of cucumber, dill, and earthiness of gin on the back end. One of those drinks you could sip on with any entrée! Greeks love their wine and we know why. The Boutari is a fantastically drinkable, crisp, and light wine that pairs well with a light, flaky fish! Reminiscent of pinot grigio, it is one that we’d love to have again.
As the night sky turned to shades of deep purple and black, the lights from the restaurant spilled onto the patio and the candles were lit in the fireplace. The candles danced and leapt throwing shadows on the ground and creating a symphony of odd shapes. It felt like we were on a cozy street in Greece on a warm summer night. Maybe we’ll stay for just one more moment.