On a rainy Wednesday night, we trudged our way up Pitt Street in Sydney’s CBD and found our respite from the terrible weather: M.I.M by 1821. A co-production between two families of restaurateurs bringing the best traditional Grecian flavours to large communal tables.
Walking into the restaurant the first thing that grabbed my eye were the giant horse statues emerging from the wall. I didn’t expect that from a Greek restaurant, I expected more white and blue typical of the Greek flag and the iconic Santorini. But they have taken the décor in a different direction, even the Greek flag proudly displayed out front is pure white metal lit up with a white light and no blue. Tacky it isn’t, M.I.M isn’t leaning into the typical Greek trappings. A great example is the comfortable diner style booths that make sharing the dishes ideal. The décor might not be for everyone, but I personally found it delightfully Greek without being overly tacky… or maybe I just love the big horses.
The service at M.I.M by 1821 was absolutely fantastic. Not only were the staff friendly, but they also gave us genuinely fantastic recommendations especially in regard to the wine. We ended up trying the Thymiopoulos Estate ‘Young Vines’, Xinomavro from Naoussa, Greece. Let me say, this was absolutely delicious. Sweet and easy to drink, we could’ve polished a whole bottle in no time had it not been a Wednesday night.
Before the wine though, we had a cocktail. I tried the Poseidon (gin, limoncello, basil, and tonic water) mostly because I really wanted to lean into the Greek cliches. Like picking a horse to win based on its name alone, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you’re left disappointed. Thankfully, this time it was the former because the Poseidon was absolutely delicious! Obviously the citrus was the main flavour present but the basil added such a delightful flavour that made the already refreshing drink even more so.
One thing to note about the menu is that all the food is designed to be shared. We started with some Gemista (tomatoes stuffed with roast vegetable rice and Dodoni feta) and Saganaki (vlahotiri cheese, Greek thyme honey, and fried mint). Both were excellent dishes though it must be said that the Gemista could have used a little more pizzazz. Something to really push it to the next level like a few extra spices. The Saganaki, however, was delightful with the honey and mint coming to the forefront beautifully.
We wanted to try what they had new on the menu so we tried the Giouvetsi (red wine braised beef cheek, honey roasted pearl onions, kritharaki). I personally really enjoyed it, but it was good but not great. It had a good consistent flavour throughout, but I wish there maybe were a few more onions in the midst because when I found one, it was phenomenal, but they were too few and far between.
The scallop manti felt similar to the giouvetsi in that it was good, no doubt, but it wasn’t amazing. Both dishes felt like they lacked the added something special that allows the food to earn its price point. This feeling permeated desert as well, with the galaktoboureko cannoli feeling far too bland due to a lack of sweetness. I do think the baklava ice cream sandwich was better though especially with the walnut paired with vanilla gelato. But in saying that, there was also a distinct lack of sweetness here too due to a distinct lack of syrup.
By no means was any of the food bad. Not at all. But when you’re paying $38 for a serving of beef cheeks you expect something a little more exciting and a little less pedestrian. I suppose it’s to be expected given the Pitt Street address.
M.I.M by 1821 was a good time with a great atmosphere, décor, and service. It’s just that the food might be too expensive for what it is. The food is good, but for how much they are charging it makes it hard to recommend to everyone. However, if price is no issue, there is more than enough to enjoy at M.I.M, especially in the drinks section. If you were going out on a Friday night and looking to eat and get a little loaded, then this place is great for that, especially as you will be sharing all your food with your friends or family.
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