Friday, 12 October 2012

Something Fishy

The full moon rose like a pink balloon, sending rippling, shimmering pink flashes across the surface of the waters of Haraki Bay. As it rose further into the sky from behind the imposing presence of Feraklos castle, as yet still in silhouette as the sodium lights which illuminate it at night were yet to come on, the moon faded from a rich pink to a creamy yellow, then finally to its more familiar cool white. It was another one of those tingle-factor evenings, which Haraki has a habit of regularly serving up.

All that's required on such occasions is the right company, some excellent food and something wicked to drink. On this particular evening we were fortunate enough to have all three. Our good friends Freda and Jilly, two sisters from Leicestershire who we first encountered on my Symi excursion back in 2007, were here for their annual stay at the Atrium Palace Hotel in Kalathos and we'd decided to eat out on Haraki seafront. It was Sunday September 30th and it was still very hot.

After taking an aperitif and a few nibbles on the balcony at the hotel, the four of us piled into our car and we drove the short distance to Haraki. We'd been debating where to eat and it was Yvonne-Maria who'd reminded us that one of our favourite tavernas, the Paradosi on Haraki front, which had closed down the year before last and sadly was closed for all of last year's season, was open again under a different name. Right next to the Style Bar, the Paradosi used to be excellent and was one of the few tavernas where we knew we'd be able to order revitho-keftedes, or chick-pea rissoles/fritters. Walking along Haraki promenade we were happy to see a healthy clutch of diners seated on the waterfront and the new sign naming the recently re-opened taverna read "To Spitaki" which means, "The Little House." Not to be confused with the taverna in Pefkos of the same name.

We instantly took a liking to the place as the waiter who attended to us was very friendly, not "in your face" but always there if we needed him. Freda and Jilly both opted for the Tsipoura (Sea Bream) done over charcoal, whilst my wife and I selected an array of different starters and one swordfish steak between us. By the time the table was laden with all the stuff which we'd all ordered we realised that we'd probably overdone it, but, what the heck, there was no hurry! The fish dishes were absolutely beautiful, a fact which we all remarked on and also communicated to the waiter. How daft of us not to have asked his name. Still, next time.

When you have a view like the one afforded you on Haraki front, on a night which is illuminated by a full moon, there's little else anyone could wish for. The night sky reached a stage of complete blackness and the lights of Feraklos castle came on, to add the perfect backdrop to the scene. A lot of Greeks came to eat in the taverna too, a fact which also boosted our opinion that we'd made a good choice. 

By the time we'd all stuffed ourselves rather too much, we called for the bill, which arrived only after we'd first been presented with a dish of fresh fruit - on the house. When we finally did get up, with difficulty, to stroll back along the front and through the lane to the car park, the man who'd waited on us came to bid us goodnight, so we introduced ourselves properly this time, along with our two lady friends, and thus began a banter which ended up in the four of us falling about. He asked us to hold on while he fetched the chef, who was also the new owner, and a rotund, jolly man with a huge grin approached, shook our hands and insisted that we sit down again for a glass of Skinos Mastiko, a digestif, made from the tree that only grows on the island of Chios and nowhere else in the world. If you haven't tried this, you must, you simply must.

All in all a perfect evening, made all the more enjoyable by the way we always seem to click with Freda and Jilly. There's never a lull in the conversation when the four of us get together. It was rather special too that we could also have a farewell drink with them before they went back to the UK up at the Atmosphere Bar in Lindos, along with our mutual friend Linda, also lives on the island, before bidding the ladies bye bye until next year.

Haraki is still in safe hands folks. The Spitaki proves it.

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