I walk into Narcissus at luxury slice of paradise Kouros Hotel Mykonos and almost fall over at the view – sweeping, immense clifftops peppered with the incandescent twinkling of white lights – for a second, the island resembles a glittering sky.
Electric blues and pinks of iridescent lighting pop to a soundtrack of the blank ocean occasionally colliding with the rocks. I’ve not seen such gorgeousness since trotting around Monaco earlier this year.
The fact that I’m here off-season has only added to the eerie beauty – I am all alone in this paradise, which could very well be a figment of my imagination.
Scorpion Fish Tartare with pear, lime, cuttlefish ink.
Scorpion fish is not something I regularly experience, so I decide to dive straight in.
With an ebony plate moulded into the shape of a concave rock, the scene is immediately set. I gingerly pluck the fried cuttlefish ink component from the dish and take a nibble. This part is reminiscent of a rice cracker – not quite as crunchy as one, more like delicate bubbles that dissipate in your mouth.
I enjoy the rough, bumpy texture and the visual illusion that I could be chewing on something much harder than it actually is. The salty, fishy taste toys with the senses in its unfamiliar combination of texture and flavour and I have to remind myself not to eat it all at once.
The scorpion fish has all the usual clean, citrus flavours one would expect from a tartare, however the pear adds a sweet acidity which is rounded off by bursts of pepper at the end. Enough of the spice is used to make even a person accustomed to heat cough repeatedly!
Dribbles of roe add gentle nuttiness and round off the dish with an air of sophistication.
Pork Paillard with cheese mousse, pistachio and dijon sauce.
Pounded meat (paillard) has never enticed me, as I feel vital textures are lost during the process and also the meat becomes dry during cooking. However, the idea of cheese mousse beckons and I place an order.
Something that immediately catches my eye as soon as the dish is placed in front of me are the red strands of angel chilli hair – something which should no doubt add uniqueness to a dish that looks fairly run of the mill.
As expected, the dish is robust and hearty. The cream cheese is not exactly discernible in taste save for a slight sourness, while the chilli hair adds extremely subtle slivers of heat. Taking a while to warm up, the dish really kicks into gear when I reach the centre of the dish and all the flavours start to take hold.
Comfortably familiar vegetables are jazzed up by blobs of what looks like beetroot and carrot emulsion, however the addition of a few more would have been useful for practicality reasons due to the size of the pork.
All in all, the ethereal setting of Kouros Hotel did it for me – every one must come here once if not for the food, but just to gaze dreamily at a landscape which evaporates as rapidly as the sun rises.
Narcissus at Kouros Hotel Mykonos is located at Mikonos 846 00, Greece.