Mykonos, Part 6, Theoxenia cuisine

The September Saturday night on Mykonos is wet and cold. Seaside bars, restaurant terraces and nightclubs have no appeal, even on the most famous party island in Greece. The soft, warm light of Theoxenia’s bar and restaurant are seductive. We opt for a night in.

The bar at Theoxenia, Mykonos
The bar at Theoxenia, Mykonos

Sipping on a pre-dinner Mythos in Theoxenia’s lobby bar we watch more intrepid fellow guests set off for their Mykonos Saturday night out. A pair of vampires flits past, followed by Derby and Joan in Macs and Wellies. I catch the barman’s eye. He smiles and shakes his head. “You can’t possibly imagine …” he begins. But before he can complete his observation, he is called away by a customer. To bring him back to the subject five minutes later would seem nosy, if not rude, so I am left imagining what I couldn’t possibly imagine until dinner time.

Theoxenia’s restaurant continues the simple, understated stone, white and blue of its Cycladic exterior. A large wall of windows looks out over the sea. With the darkness of the autumn night behind them, they reflect the warm glow of the room.

Travelstripe is not a gourmet and you will rarely find effusive raves about food in these posts. But the cuisine at Theoxenia must not go unmentioned. Our meal began with a taste of a sort of frittata, courtesy of the kitchen – delicious! Next we shared Haloumi parcels, with olive tepanade and balsamic dressing on a bed of rocket and sundried tomato salad – even more delicious. This was followed by chicken breast stuffed with haloumi and sundried tomatoes served with baked aubergine (for him) and fresh salmon on steamed spinach and redoman with balsamic vinegar (for me) – more delicious still. Unfortunately, we were unable to even contemplate desserts after this marathon.

We returned to Theoxenia’s restaurant quite early the next morning. Outside that wall of windows the sky was blue and the sun was dancing on the sea. The air was heavy with the aroma of Greek coffee. There were full cooked breakfasts of several nationalities on offer but why would you, in fact how could you, when the buffet offered Greek yoghurt, honey, figs, bread, pastries and all kinds of local treats?

Mykonos, Part 5, Chora

Mykonos is certainly one of, if not the most beautiful of the Greek islands. It is known as the jewel of the Aegean and no wonder! Everything here is in complete harmony, both the works of nature and the works of man. Everything is to perfect scale. Nowhere is this balance more beautifully illustrated than in Mykonos town.

In a backstreet of Mykonos
In a backstreet of Mykonos

It is threatening rain – not an afternoon for the beach – so I turn up a narrow cobbled laneway away from the sea. Small white houses, with blue shutters and gates, crowd in around me. Mykonos Summertime, the island’s premiere lifestyle and travel magazine describes the island’s buildings as, “humble architecture, built at man’s height by free people who do not crawl to meet their master but who dare to look their God in the eyes” It is an apt description. Even monumental buildings, like churches are tiny, with a modest, understated, solid beauty.

My laneway leads me to Akti Kambani, the main waterfront. At one end of the bay is a little church where seafarers give thanks for a safe return. On the waves beyond it, a flotilla of caiiques bobs idly at anchor. In more clement weather, the bay would be empty and all boats would be away, ferrying sun-lovers to the outlying beaches. Now, one small, sad-looking group of beach boys is huddled under a flapping umbrella outside a café, with their hoodies pulled up and their tans turning blue.

Further along the waterfront I find Mando Square, named after Mando Mavrogenous, Mykonos’ most famous heroine who distinguished herself in the fight to overthrow the Turks in the 15th century. A statue to her memory stands in the centre of the square. The bay ends in a cluster of nightclubs. It is three in the afternoon, not yet party time, but even so, their closed doors have a look of finality.

I turn away, into another lane. Two storeyed shops crowd in on either side. In one, a rack of hoodies catches my eye. I have to have one. The lane is cold and like the boys down near the bay, I’m turning blue. I pick out a pale pink number with the symbolic Mykonos anchor embroidered on the chest. As the lady in the shop helps me into it she tells me that the business was her childhood home, until the sixties brought the first tourists. Then, like many other householders in the street, her parents turned the ground floor into a shop and moved the family upstairs. She lives there still with her own family.

Luxuriating in the fluffy warmth of my new pink hoodie, I follow the rise of the lane up the hill. I pass walls, hung with bougainvillea, threaded with pomegranates and apples. The lane opens into a square hung with canopy of grapes and bougainvillea. It is the perfect place to stop and just ponder this place called Mykonos.

I can find no more words so I’ll conclude this post with the proud “voice” of the island Mykonos Summertime

“The light of Apollo is evident everywhere on the island and art, beauty and form are all visible in the simple and eloquence of the dazzling white structures and a centuries old labyrinth of tiny streets and alleyways. The light is further enhanced by the reflection of aqua jewelled and crystal clean waters”