Interview: Maro Voulgari | Photo: Nikos Zappas
I serve a decent and sincere cuisine which respects the limits of the place and its rules
The fishing house at Santa Maria where fishermen kept their nets has become…Siparos. A simple, modern and very successful restaurant which has gained a permanent place among the island’s top five. The products from the sea and the region’s gardens have created a simple and balanced menu which treads gently on tradition and takes off with a twist.
In your place we can see vividly your love for the island. How much of a Parian are you?
We are Parians, my sister and collaborator, Despina Karamitsou, and I, on our mother’s side. I also feel Parian. This year I decided to stay here with my family, all the year round. It was nice. It was a calm winter and an opportunity for rest, for organizing things and for introspection. So, I’d say 100% Parian.
What makes a visitor feel this marvelous intimacy, in your opinion?
I think that everything is a matter of psychology. As my mentor Christos Krimeas used to tell me, on one hand we have a public on holidays on a magic island which offers magnificent moments and on the other hand there is us who, in our turn, must make them feel comfortable. This can happen only if we really believe in hospitality and behave as we do with our families. This is the only thing I teach to my coworkers. I am not interested in following the rules of absolute service, but I prefer to see these rules going through the prism of a Sunday family lunch.
How traditional is your cuisine?
We are guided by the ingredients. Most of them are local. The tastes here are dense and strong and we just highlight them with a twist. We add a modern touch.
… this has been duly appreciated. It is one of the most popular places on the island. Is there a secret?
Our recipe is to have clear tastes, not succumbing to fashion or gastronomic clichés. It is also the cordial service and the open place, a few meters from the sea, full of light. People feel free to bring their children, to wear comfortable clothes, to get up from their chair and admire the view. Our menu list changes frequently, depending on the season. We want our products to be fresh, at their finest hour.
What would you underline in your menu for this summer?
The handmade pie on the grill, orzo with a fresh fish fillet and saffron sauce, fava beans with octopus cooked in Mavrodafni wine and marjoram or feta doughnuts with sundried tomato and dill. There is also a variety of meat and plenty of fresh fish brought to us by the wave… (laughs).
What would be your choice from your wine list?
We have wines from all over Greece but the local recipes pair excellently with the island’s wines. I’d certainly choose one of the Parian wines which are of high quality, but also our own rose “Mandilaria Siparos”.