Epicurean journey in Greece : Mykonos
On the first weekend of October Jess and I traded one island for another. We arrived in Mykonos bleary eyed from a 4AM wake up call in order to catch the first flight out of London but eager to start the first destination of our epicurean journey experience in Greece. Though I’ve never visited the Cyclades I knew to expect a vibrant party town atmosphere in Chora, 16th century windmills perched on a hill and whitewashed cubist buildings. But for an introvert like myself I also relished to find a quiet refuge at the Santa Marina Resort away from the bustle of the town center that is equally as photogenic.
Fine dining at the Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort
My photography assignment for the Santa Marina Resort led me into the Buddha Bar Beach restaurant kitchen for a photoshoot with executive chef Efstathios Thermos, on the hotel beach (which serves as the island’s only private sand beach) for cocktails hour and to a pristine supermarket that is equipped with its own DJ booth. I knew to expect an international vibe in Mykonos but was surprised to find a touch of eclectic to it as well. And as it turned out there were a few of pleasant surprises in store:
Our time in Mykonos was very brief but we did manage to relax a bit on these half shell daybeds at sunset. They are one of my favorite elements at Santa Marina.
Right before the Buddha Bar cocktails photoshoot on the beach I thought I spotted Adrian Grenier sunbathing on a cabana bed. My heart skipped a few beats before Jess gently brought me back to my senses to see that he was a doppleganger. I’m not very far off with celebrity sightings at the hotel though as it often hosts A-listers.
Yachts docking nearby the hotel is common. During peak season the Buddha Bar hosts regular parties with beats from their house DJ. Yacht owners and their guests have been known to stop by to join the festivities.
It was probably too early in the morning to burst out laughing at the sight of the geese waddling past right as I opened the door but I couldn’t help it. Jess and I woke early for sunrise and was greeted with one of the most hauntingly romantic pink and purple skies I’ve ever seen. Contrasting that with the loud geese made for an exhilarating start to the day. Also, they made an appearance outside our room at around the same time every morning.
The breakfast buffet at the Santa Marina is no joke. It is also at the breakfast bar where we started our addiction to freddo cappuccino, espresso with frothy milk over ice.
The row of windmills on the hill in Chora are famous but this one on the hotel premise is my favorite one. It is currently occupied by the hotel manager but was once available for guests to stay in.
I’m hoping this photo alone demonstrates just how fresh that Greek salad was at the Buddha Bar Beach restaurant. The high quality of produce and seafood was consistent throughout our stay. The menu includes modern Greek cuisine, sushi and dishes influenced by the Pacific Rim.
The mise en place & seared salmon from the kitchen.
Chef Efstathios Thermos at the helm in the kitchen with a small audience of kitchen staffers off to the side during the photoshoot.
I was not surprised to find great sushi in Mykonos since seafood plays a big role in Mediterranean cuisine but I also found it to be inventive. A particular favorite was the OMG: shrimp tempura roll with salmon sashimi and topped with strawberry. We barely had room for dessert but the chocolate truffles were irresistible.
Final touches for the pan grilled fish.
Sights of Chora, Mykonos
Chora was meant to be quiet in early October but on the morning of our visit a cruise ship full of tourists descended on the village. Even with throngs of people milling around we were able to find a few quiet quintessential Mykonos cobblestoned streets with pops of bougainvillea. Our time in Mykonos was short but I’m glad we had the chance to experience the quieter side of the island. A friend recently told me he enjoyed gyros for breakfast, lunch and dinner on his last trip on the island and I’m keen to outdo him on my next visit to Mykonos. And who knows maybe I’ll even bump into Adrian Grenier at the Santa Marina.
This wraps up the last post of a five post series on my epicurean journey in Greece with destinations including: Athens, Crete, Santorini, Costa Navarino and Mykonos. Hope you enjoyed following along!
Note: I was a guest at the Santa Marina resort and worked in collaboration with the Luxury Collection for this piece. All views are my own.