It may as well have been the most opulent dinner on Earth.
For our last dinner in Athens, we wanted to go to Funky Gourmet which we’d read online as the best restaurant in the city. Sadly, they weren’t open. In exchange, our hotel suggested we book a table at Spondi, a place I hadn’t heard of till then. When I looked it up online and found out what it was, I felt a little bit excited and quite a bit anxious.
It’s not often – meaning never at all – that I get to dine in a two-star Michelin restaurant. When we got there, it was a slow night – there was only one other table occupied. Thankfully that meant no one would see me shaking from embarrassment should a non-opportune moment arise. We both ordered the Discovery Menu, a 7-course extravaganza that lived up to its name. I not only got introduced to new ways of presenting food but ended up rediscovering something in myself as well.
I’ve often figured myself to be a down-to-earth, folksy, some of the time worldly-wise kind of fellow. I’ve been around the block some for more than 4 decades, lived in 5 cities on 3 continents, met all kinds of people, and eaten a fair share of different kinds of cuisine.
I say this because being in new or not-all-too-common situations still do affect me and I do react to them. Spondi could be explained simplistically as being just another meal but more than that it was really a reminder of how extraordinary certain experiences can be and a measure of whether they are worth it. I must admit I was a bit anxious while there – it had to do with the over-formality and the non-familiarity with the food. Could I have fared better if the food were exactly the same but with a more unassuming approach? More than likely.
Would I have gone to Spondi on my own? In a past life, certainly. I did celebrate occasions in places like it not too many years ago. But my circumstances have changed so chances are I probably won’t now. It’s a luxury no longer in the budget, and I’ve happily learned to live with less.
My conflict with it I suppose comes from the trepidation, and my feeling ill-at-ease with the entire execution. But as with everything else I’ve experienced so far, in life all it takes is practice. Hopefully I WILL get another, or several more, ‘most opulent dinners on Earth’. Life’s just too damn short to feel negative about anything…especially at those prices.