Le Pavillon Athens: Dishes with French elegance

Le Pavillon Athens

There is a quiet part of Chalandri in northern Athens filled with many detached houses and beautiful gardens. One of them, dating from 1940, is the restaurant Le Pavillon Athens. It is the culinary masterpiece of the French chef Jean-Charles Métayer, who set it up several years ago with his partner and friend Angelos Kantarato.

This modestly luxurious restaurant hides a charming calmness that will win you over when you enter the space. This calmness is in complete harmony with the chef's cooking style.

The style marries Mediterranean cuisine with Métayer's French techniques - a style that plays with textures, materials and unique combinations that coexist harmoniously in the dishes.

Le Pavillon Athens

Le Pavillon Athens

However, let's get out of theory and into practice.

At Le Pavillon, you can choose between two degustation menus: a 9-course and a 12-course. Each of them is a unique journey into Métayer's culinary philosophy—a journey that starts with the amuse-bouche (the chef's treats, as they are usually called).

Of these, I will stick to the delicious snail croquette served on top of a fresh artichoke and the aubergine and truffle puff pastry roll, as both piqued my interest.

Le Pavillon Athens

The "vegetable garden" that followed was a dish that combined land and sea in every forkful. Pickled vegetables with French caviar d'Aquitaine and a delicate vinaigrette made from an essence from the head of the female lobster.

Halkida crayfish is also particularly delicious. It is a dish with many techniques and elements, which, although it seems pretentious, is not at all.

Le Pavillon Athens

Le Pavillon Athens
The crayfish, perfectly cooked and juicy, had the leading role in the menu I tried. At the same time, the octopus carpaccio at its base and the handmade pasta with black sesame that accompanied it contributed significantly to the tasty result of the dish.

This particular dish fully represents the talent of the French chef. So is the smoked black cod, impressively presented to the visitor: "dyed" black from cuttlefish ink and a potato foam flavoured with bourbon vanilla and cuttlefish ink gel.

Le Pavillon Athens

On the contrary, grilled with its bone, the flounder was not as juicy as it should have been. The black truffle that had covered it could be absent, as it did not add anything to the fish.

The duck caramelised with Black Laurel, cocoa, and beetroot was a dish that left me torn. I found the millefeuille of celeriac, wild berries, and beetroot tasty and a lovely idea, but the duck itself was a bit tough and had an unpleasant texture.

The tiny tart with foie gras mousse, beetroot pearls and wild cherry was also attractive in this dish - I would have asked for a second one.

Le Pavillon Athens

As for the sweets, the cinnamon sticks were great, while the main dessert, chestnut ice cream with olive oil foam and pomegranate sauce covered by a caramel "glass," will surely impress you.

I would say that Métayer's cuisine generally has French finesse, techniques, and taste. There are more or less dishes you will like on the menu, but this is normal. However, the chef's culinary talent is not in doubt. Just as the charm of Le Pavillón is not in doubt.

info: 31 Perikleous, Chalandri, tel. 210 6815 774
50-70 euros without wine

Vasilis Dimaras is a columnist for Olive Magazine. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.

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