An afternoon shopping in the CBD is always going to leave me feeling that dinner should be early and close by. So, one busy Saturday afternoon I overcame my scepticism of restaurants inside shopping centres and secured an early table for dinner at Xanthi. Stories of the existence of pork belly baklava had reached me, and with pork and pastry generally being a winning combination, I had to try it.
We rested our weary legs and tried to work out the best meal strategy from the multitude of menu sections. Settling on a conventional approach, we order the pork belly baklava ($20.50) along with a serve of Imambayldi ($9) to start. The aubergine with tomato and spiced yoghurt builds the illusion of having a balanced meal (though we know it’s really just about the pork), and is washed down with a bottle of Greek varietal Malagousia: the 2010 Alpha Estate Axia from Florina, Macedonia ($67.50). The wine isn’t quite the ‘similar to Pinot Gris’ promised, but a decent drop with sweetness and acidity to stand up to the pork to come.
The famed pork belly arrived soon after, and was definitely the standout dish of the meal. Sweet with dates and pistachio, crispy filo pastry and with added crackling it was a dish to be savoured, and makes it onto my list of Sydney must-eats.
We followed up the pork belly with Lamb Skaras ($32.50): spiced, slow cooked and falling apart lamb shoulder served with green beans, and a delightfully rare Homeric Beef ($39.50). Then, stomachs full, but wishing we had time to consider dessert (caramel baklava ice cream, mmm), we emerged back into the Westfield centre. I’m still not convinced about the merits of restaurants in shopping centres (shattering the illusion of being far removed from normal life when heading to the bathroom is never going to be ideal), but I guess when the food’s this good, I’ll put up with it.
Bond rating: AAA
Corner Pitt Street Mall & Market Street, CBD, (Westfield Centre, Level 6 Dining Precinct)
11am-10pm Sunday to Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday