Ploos is a new modern Greek restaurant located at Campbell's Stores, Circular Quay by Chef Peter Conistis. On the Ploos menu you'll find modern Greek dishes like his take of spanikopita as manti dumplings, crisp kataifi tarts filled with whipped feta and bastourma and his signature Fig Loukoumades with a giant ripe fig donut, all with a waterfront setting. And there's one surprising part of the menu!
Ploos means Sails which references the setting on Sydney Harbour. I'm curious and excited to eat at Ploos as I have eaten at each of Peter's restaurants since he appeared on the scene. The menu focuses on South Aegean cuisine and a focus on the wild and mountainous terrain of Crete and nearby Cyprus as well the Middle East. The menu for Ploos strikes its own individual chord from Peter's other restaurants (Alpha, Omega, Eleni’s and Cosmos). Case in point: Peter is most known for is the scallop moussaka and it usually pops up on his menus but it does not at Ploos. When lamb makes an appearance it's as Lamb Tomahawk instead of Lamb Shoulder. The menu is also surprisingly reasonably priced for a waterfront restaurant with mains starting at $24.
There is an indoor section as well as an al fresco undercover one and on a sunny Summer's day there's no better place to be than outside. The interior is all sandstone walls and pottery while the outdoors is all view and the perfect place to pretend you're on holidays. On Sundays there is live music at lunchtime from a neighbouring restaurant.
A guy comes in huffing and puffing and rolling a baby stroller. "It took me 15 minutes to find this place!" he says dramatically. Is this what I sound like? Mr NQN is parking the car so I have time to a) go through the menu which I have already done online and b) observe that billionaire Clive Palmer is isolating on this yacht "Australia" obscuring everyone's view with his wide berth.
Ouzo Fizz $24 (left) Soumada Sour $22
The cocktails have helpful three word descriptions that help diners decide which to order. Mr NQN loves Ouzo while I'm trying to get myself to like strong licorice flavours but our waiter tells us that there is only 15ml or 0.5oz of Ouzo and it just adds a lovely flavour dimension to the Ouzo Fizz which also has pink gin, lime, honey, watermelon, mint and lemon. To me it's more a watermelon cocktail than an Ouzo one despite the name. We also really enjoy the Soumada Sour with whiskey, Tentura, lemon, egg white, agave syrup with its end note of smokiness from the whiskey. And wine lovers have some Greek selections on the wine menu along with Greek spirits.
Kataifi Tart, whipped feta, pastourmas, candied eggplant $20
We pair the cocktails with the appetisers. The first is a kataifi tart with crisp, buttery noodle kataifi pastry encasing whipped feta, pastrouma and candied jalapeno. The tarts has a wonderfully crunchy and crisp texture and then you get some creamy, salty feta, thin slices of pastourma and the sweet spiciness of the candied jalapeno and they are the perfect mouthful to go with cocktails.
Aylesbury duck koupes, tahinosalata, vissino, herb salad $16
Usually koupes or kibbeh is made with ground meat and bulghur but this is a version uses Aylesbury duck done three ways and deep fried. It is served with tahinosalata or tahini dip, vissino or sour cherry preserves and a fresh herb salad that provides a lovely freshness to the rich duck.
Grilled halloumi, fennel glyko, lemon, isot pepper $24
The grilled halloumi is topped with sweet fennel glyko or spoon sweets, similar to a jam, with fresh lemon and a dusting of Isot Pepper or Urfa biber, a sweet, mild pepper. The halloumi isn't very salty as many others and the fennel jam adds such a nice sweetness to it.
Spanakopita filled manti, dill yoghurt, burnt butter $24
The Spanakopita main was Peter's recommendation as he combines manti dumplings with a spanakopita filling. It's four dumplings filled with sauteed spinach on a bed of dill yogurt with crisp filo pastry on top and a generous amount of burnt butter. The dumplings are so delicate and tasty and perfectly paired with the creamy herbed yogurt and nutty browned butter. It's also nice to see a delicious, tasty option for vegetarians. My only recommendation? Order some sourdough pita bread to mop up that butter at the end.
Grilled Bannockburn Chicken, biber salcasi, almond skordalia $38
Usually when a restaurant serves a whole chicken it is priced around $70 because it's designed for two people eating it but the grilled Bannockburn chicken is reasonably priced at $38 for a whole chicken that can easily serve two (or three depending on how many appetisers you have). The Bannockburn chicken is smothered in biber salcasi or pepper paste and is roasted and served with dabs of almond skordalia and mild chilli peppers. The chicken is so tender and luscious and the flavour permeates through the meat.
Potatoes Tsakistes $12
Long time readers know how much I love a crispy potato and always ask wait staff if the crispy potatoes are indeed crispy. I'm happy to report that these are very crispy. Tsakistes means "cracked" and these potatoes are split in half or cracked so that they become super crispy when fried. They're served with coriander and rosemary.
Fried pumpkin savoro, rose vinegar, herbs $12
I'm always on the look out for new ways to cook pumpkin and this fried pumpkin savoro is slices of tender pumpkin cooked savoro style (with garlic and vinegar and usually done with fish in Ithaca) with some rose vinegar and fresh herbs on top. This pumpkin along with the potatoes go well with the grilled chicken.
Bougatsa is one of my favourite Greek desserts and this bougatsa is a delicious cold custard topped with filo pastry and dittany (a herb from Crete), sour cherry sauce, ice cream or pagoto and raki (a distilled anise and grape liqueur) which really bring added dimensions of flavour beyond a typical bougatsa.
Fig Loukoumades $16
The fig loukoumades are served as small donuts with one larger donut encasing a fresh fig inside. There's also a light and aromatic rose crema and blackberry glyko or jam as well as fresh fruit. It's a lovely dessert especially with a little of the halva ice cream below with it.
I really wanted to order three desserts but as we were so full we didn't. However I did ask for a scoop of the halva ice cream that accompanied the chickpea baklava as I love halva. The chickpea halva is Peter's twist on hummus as a dessert with cumin praline and lemon-pretty much everything but the garlic! The halva ice cream and cumin praline are wonderful together with such an unexpected harmonious merging of flavours. Come 3:30pm when we finish eating but the sun is still shining and the cool breeze still blows, we are reluctant to leave.
So tell me Dear Reader, how do you feel about Ouzo or strong licorice flavours? What did you end up doing for Valentine's or Galentine's Day?
Campbell's Stores, Bay 7/7-27 Circular Quay West The Rocks NSW 2000
Thursday to Saturday 12pm–12am
Closed Monday to Wednesday