Restaurateur Natasha Sideris: “Five dishes that changed my life.”
Following the success of Tasha’s, and Flamingo Room, restauranteur Natasha Sideris opened DIFC-based Avli by Tashas to similar acclaim. These are the plates that fuelled her culinary passion…
The Greek island of Milos has been like a second home to me for most of my life. It is here that I first tasted Ladenia. Some call it ‘flatbread’ or ‘pizza’ but for me Ladenia is unique. Made with the best quality onions, olive oil, tomatoes and bread roasted in an oven, this incredibly simple dish taught me how important combining simple flavours of quality produce can come together to make something magical.
2. Avgolemeno (Egg & Lemon Soup)
Made by my grandmother, this is literally the first thing I ate as a baby and I love it as much today as I did back then. This traditional Greek soup, made with an egg and lemon sauce, is usually served with rice and chicken. Thickened, the sauce on its own works incredibly well with fish and other dishes. I don’t know of anyone that doesn’t love it!
3. Savva’s Seafood Pasta
Every father leaves a legacy. Some fathers leave behind stamp collections, some leave behind vintage cars; some might even leave an old watch. In my family, fathers leave recipes. My great-grandfather was a fisherman, my grandfather was a baker and my father was a chef. This seafood pasta dish has been passed through the generations. My brother, Savva, has made it even better.
4. Baked Potato with Caviar
There isn’t a part of my life that wasn’t influenced by my father. He is in every recipe I cook, every restaurant I open, in every decision I make. As a restaurateur, I learned everything I know from him. One thing I never got the chance to share with him was the most simple and decadent dish I have ever eaten, it was in Paris at Caviar Kaspia. A baked potato. Yes, a simple spud served with Beluga caviar and vodka. Three things that I love, and he would have as well, combined in the most perfect way.
My first meal whenever I am in Greece, without fail, is Barbounakia—a fried red mullet made with a delicate batter that steams the fish, served with steamed greens and scordalia. Once in the early ’90s, we were in Greece eating this at my aunt’s house, when an earthquake struck in the middle of dinner. We all ran down the stairs of the apartment building and spent the next two days sleeping in my cousin’s car. Sounds horrible but we made the best of it! Food always evokes memories for me, and I always try to do the same for our guests.