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The breathtaking Delta Restaurant at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation
A cosmopolitan experience shaped by gastronomy, sustainability, and culture
By Kelly Fanarioti
On the fifth floor of the imposing building housing the Stavros Niarchos Foundation is a restaurant different from anything we have experienced in Athens: Delta, an innovative project that combines gastronomy, sustainability and culture is the new talk of the town, and not unjustly.
The subdued lighting and simple, yet tasteful, décor, exudes a wonderful feeling of mystery and makes Delta the perfect place for business dinners or romantic dates.
The iconic sculpture bar of the restaurant, which can accommodate up to 50 people, is among the largest in the world, and solidifies the sense of both intimacy and splendor. A bold combination and innovation of drinks leaves an ‘’aftertaste’’ with its own signature fingerprints. The focus is on contemporary local distilleries of new Greek brandies, liqueurs, and aged tsipouro, along with top international distillates such as whiskey, rum, tequila and vodka.
“The circular bar surrounded by columns of the space is set higher, marking the center of architectural path, revealing the strategic design of the views within the space. It is a functional sculpture created by Voukenas Petridis. The curvilinear form and the nature of its surface gives to the space the feeling of a constant dynamic movement and hetero – photic glow. It is the central episode of the architectural narrative and the center of a spatial panopticity and spiralling views’’, explains Stelios Kois, principal architect of Kois Associated Architects, who designed the restaurant.
Following a ‘’nothing lost – nothing wasted’’ philosophy, the restaurant adopts an operating mode that respects natural resources, while simultaneously raising public consciousness around the importance of food sustainability. In this context, collaborations with small producers from all over Greece supply the kitchen with authentic, original and uncommon ingredients, with an emphasis on organic products. The restaurant also hosts educational programs, activities and workshops, which promote concepts such as sustainability and responsible management of natural resources. It also offers food and wine-tasting seminars.
The menu consists of 17 courses, created by the charismatic George Papazacharias and curated by Thanos Freskos and his team. Both left established careers in “Under,’’ Norway – the world’s largest underwater restaurant – and “Geranium’’, Denmark – one of the best in the world – in order to join forces and place Greece and the SNFCC at the center of the world map of gastronomy. They claim that in order to minimize waste, each ingredient is used throughout a cycle that can start with appetizers, continue through the main course, and end with the dessert.
Herbs, vegetables, edible flowers, fruits, eggs, come -in a large percentage- from the vegetable garden located inside the SNFCC, or from the farm they work with in Markopoulos.
‘’We are two friends with a dream to create a bridge between Nordic and Mediterranean cuisine by opening a restaurant that could represent humble Greek ingredients but also the traditional way of cooking and preserving food as people used to do back in the days when there were no modern technologies. Most importantly, the goal is to ensure that each serving has its own story, and concept to be told and on the same time, coming back to the core of Delta’s philosophy’’, says George Papazacharias.
The restaurant’s wine list, 685 labels of Greek and international vineyards, satisfies even the most demanding palettes. Aris Sklavenitis and Fedon Dernikos, both award- wining and top of their class sommeliers, have curated the integrated wine list that elevates the gastronomic pairing to the highest point of delight.
‘’In order to achieve the perfect pairing, we work closely with our chefs regarding the ingredients and the way of cooking. These are two of the most important elements in finding the right wine for each course’’, states George Papazacharias.
Last, but not least, Delta collaborates with ARTWORKS and presents works of Greek artists in the restaurant’s venue. Following the concept of sustainability, the managers of Delta think of art as part of diverse ecosystems and interdependent interactions. The works explore the relationships between natural and digital environments, knowledge and emotion, corporeality, architecture and landscape. They incorporate mythological themes into contemporary reflections and connect visual and tactile elements.
“Staying true to the vision and tenor of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, we planned together with the SNFCC, Dipnosofistirion, and Dimitris Skarmoutsos, to create an international gastronomic destination. The restaurant is a unique landmark in fine dining, in accordance with the precedent of quality set by the SNFCC for public spaces globally. From its architecture to its taste identity, the new venture comes to fruition through the robust cooperation of leading professionals who – with team spirit, innovative thinking, deep expertise and, most importantly, outstanding creativity –enrich the already special experience of visitors at the SNFCC,’’ says Co – President Andreas Drakopoulos.