Contemporary Athenian restaurant Avli has become a firm favorite on the Dubai culinary scene. And rightly so. Part of the Tashas Group headed by Natasha Sideris, the venue manages to capture the soul of DIFC chick with true Agean vibes.
To keep things interesting, the venue announced the launch of a new ‘À La Carte Menu’ which brings the passion and love of Greek cuisine, inspired by Sideris’ modern spin on traditional cooking techniques and regional flavors, as well as classics from her very own family recipes. Dishes to look out for include Grilled Octopus Salad, Scallop Crudo and the Tuna & Watermelon Crudo, and the delicious Aegean meze selection. Additionally new to the menu include A la Polita Seabass and King Crab Leg served with creamy saffron aioli, fresh herb basting and crisp gem lettuce, and Jumbo Prawn Saganaki. But fear not, Avli caters well to the vegetarian clientele, with such dishes as the courgette and lemon Bucatini pasta.
But it’s not all about food. With the coming of the winter season and fantastic weather, Avli launched a new Cocktail menu that will do nothing short of transporting the discerning clientele to the shores of Hellas. Carefully crafted drinks are inspired by the Cycladic Islands of Greece and the distinctive herbs and botanicals native to the lands.
Economy Middle East spoke to Krystian Hordejuk, Beverage Director of Tashas Group to find out more.
What is the inspiration behind the cocktail menu at Avli?
The main inspiration behind this new cocktail menu is the exceptional beauty of the Cycladic Islands of Greece, along with the distinctive herbs and botanicals that grow in the hills overlooking the Aegean. We wanted to bring a refreshing twist on some classic favorites.
We are also attentive to the menu designs in general – for this particular launch, we decided to pay homage to one of Greece’s most iconic modern artists, Alekos Fassianos (1935-2022). An Athenian by birth, Fassianos’s charming paintings are beloved for their unmistakable Hellenic motifs and their vibrant color palette. In the post-war years, his work came to be regarded as a symbol of Greek identity and national spirit. In honor of this, the very first cocktail on this inspired menu is named after him, the ALEKOS.
Typically, how long would it take to curate such drinks?
In order to develop a memorable cocktail menu, it is absolutely crucial to identify what your guests’ preferences are: in terms of tasting notes, presentation, and garnish. When creating a new range of drinks, you should always align with the overall concept of the venue.
In our case, the overall process of any menu development may take up to 8 -12 weeks on average, starting from the conceptualization, development, sign-off, procurement, training, and implementation.
When creating the new menu, who is involved?
Natasha Sideris, Founder & CEO of the Tashas Group sets the tone of every F&B development and plays a crucial role during the entire innovation process.
In a nutshell, the Avli cocktail menu is a collaboration between our dedicated bartenders, suppliers, and creative design team, enabling us to encapsulate the overall direction on paper. Natasha had a very specific vision for this, and we worked closely together to ensure her inspiration and concepts come to life.
How important is it to keep true to the Greek theme while creating the drinks?
Considering that Avli by Tashas is a testament to the resilient culture of Athens, abundant in arts and culture, it was very important that all Signature Cocktails are strongly influenced by the ingredients found on the Cycladic Islands. That said, our Cocktail List features the ALEKOS – a lovely fruity drink based on the Greek Amber Spirit, ARGOS MARTINI with a uniquely Mediterranean character amplified by Kalamata Olive Oil and GIN BASIL FIZZ – a bright, herbaceous, and effervescent drink based on Greek basil, to name just a few.
Taking into consideration that Natasha Sideris adores the Alekos Fassianos artwork, the menu is very much inspired by his style.
In terms of the clientele, how would you define the Bar vs. Restaurant in terms of numbers?
The capacity of the bar is about 40 guests versus the restaurant at 120 guests. We don’t want to differentiate the clientele between the bar and the restaurant, however, the restaurant’s guests are seeking a truly Mediterranean experience, and this will entail foodies and culinary enthusiasts who would prefer a wine-pairing experience with their meal, with Greek wines being particularly popular.
On the bar side, it consists of pre and post-dinner guests along with some of the DIFC bar-hopping crowd, seeking the perfect hangout spot for a drink among friends with a great ambiance. Guests usually tend to stand and socialize around the bar, making long and refreshing cocktails and drinks more popular, with a high demand for classics such as the Gin Basil Fizz or the Argos Martini.