Koutsou & Co: Argyro Koutsou perfects homemade food

Koutsou & Co

Argyro Koutsou is a self-taught cook. She didn't study as a chef or anything like that. She always cooks with her instinct and her heart. That's why her dishes have a motherly taste.

Koutsou & Co is a modern restaurant with delicious food.

Koutsou & Co

It is in a not-so-well-known but beautiful gallery on Xenophontos Street in the Greek capital, a little below Syntagma. It has a few tables: two or three in the small inner hall and five or six more in the quiet portico.

So, every day, Argyro enters her open Lilliputian kitchen and puts the pots and pans on the stove. She adds new menu items every day, planning her menu depending on what she finds at the market and what is fresh.

After she does that, she will take the chalk and write all the dishes on a blackboard on one hand and the pen on the other hand to complete the daily menu.

Koutsou & Co

The aromas greeted me from the gallery entrance on the day I visited. Luckily, I had planned and made a reservation, which is essential since, as mentioned above, tables are few and far between.

I looked at the menu and struggled with what to order as I dipped Argyros' sourdough bread into the oil. She bakes it every day. Fluffy, it smelled nice and paired the velvety fava perfectly with the lemony soutzouki, but it lacked a bit of its intensity. It was nice and salty.

We also had eggs with red salta and pastourma. A simple and enviable dish, a sample of the chef's cooking. In the same logic was the black-eye peas with the fresh mussels that smelled of the sea.

Koutsou & Co

And while the Assyrtiko was in the glasses on the table, the smoked eggplant puree with octopus arrived. The puree may have been a little lacklustre, but the octopus, on the other hand, was perfectly cooked.

The pastitsio with shrimp and sausage from Drama was a deeply delicious dish, one of those dishes that you ask for a second portion.

From this point on, the "deliciousness festival" began. Next was the goat with Maratha, thick fried potatoes, and the small, fluffy keftedakia that smelled of mint.

These last ones awakened summer memories: returning home from the sea and having hot keftedakia and a mountain of French fries waiting for you at the table.

Koutsou & Co
Photos by Pericles Merakos and Vasilis Dimaras.

I will return to Koutsou & Co. again and again because Argyro's food speaks to the heart, and she knows how to make you feel at home.

Athens should have more restaurants with simple, delicious, everyday hot food.

info: Xenophontos 15A, Syntagma, tel. 210 3252 848
Prices are 30 euros with wine or beer

Vasilis Dimaras is a columnist for Cantina. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.

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