Through a wonderful set of coincidences I ended up at the promotional evening of restaurant Mazie in a small, charming side-street of the Noordeinde, oozing History and character.

The theme of the evening “when East meets West” was brainchild of cook Takis Panagakis, originating in his half Greek heritage and passion for Japanese cuisine. Mixing Greek and Japanese? I was not so sure… though he did point out a large amount of similarities in ingredients used.

Let alone tasting a large variety of his culinary creations, the evening also involved three demonstrations:

–        Takis’s Greek lentil soup (family recipe)

–        Harbour Club chef prepared sushi

–        Van Rangelrooij demonstrated how knives were made and sharpened and showed footage of their visit to knife makers in Japan

This charming, stylish restaurant, which usually caters to around 36 guests (plus a private dining area of 10-12 upstairs) was set up for the occasion in long tables d’hotes where guests (mix of long standing clients, new ones, friends and family – the event was sold out in one day!) mingled with wonderful spontaneous warmth as we enjoyed, delighted and discussed the many tantalising dishes which came our way, all presented like mini works of art and complemented by delicious Greek wines and Japanese beverages (sake, Japanese Beer and plum wine).

Not one dish lacked in subtlety and originality: this was an exceptional evening for the taste buds.

Dishes included sashimi of langoustines served with ponzu vinaigrette, augotaracho, greek salad sorbet, kyuri cucumber served with freeze dried Japanese tomatoes; and Lamb kleftiko style with smoked aubergine salad with soya sauce, puree of fasalada, retsina, pita bread yakitori and tsatsiki. Just to give you an idea! My mouth is watering as I write.

Enhancing this wonderfully intimate setting and joyful atmosphere was undoubtedly the conviviality of owner Koen Cramer and of chef Takis, everyone was relaxed and open and conversations filled the air, punctuated by outbursts of laughter.

The three demonstrations brought a learning complement to this most magical of evenings and I left feeling indeed I had discovered a pearl and eager to come back and experience the cuisine on a “normal” night too.

None of us could believe how late it was once we had had our third dessert; time had disappeared as we enjoyed our heart-warming bubble of pleasure. To soften the departure we were presented with a beautiful bag bulging with goodies donated by the sponsors including a jar of the Lentil soup cooked in front of us. I have just enjoyed mine: A divine, hearty soup exploding with taste enhanced by a point of vinegar.

And now I shall book my next meal.

The restaurant opens for lunch on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (on reservation) and is closed Sunday and Monday.

And because sometimes it is good to share secrets: