Thursday, 17 July 2014

Poros and the Aspros Gatos (White Cat) taverna

While we were in Greece during half term we had the good fortune of spending a few days on Poros. Poros, one of the Saronic Gulf Islands, is conveniently located about an hour from Piraeus on the hydrofoil, but you can drive there via Corinth and Epidavros (where you can stop for lunch and a swim – first pic below). A narrow channel separates it from the Peloponnese mainland where you can park on the seafront in Galatas and take a shuttle across the water. If you're travelling from Piraeus on the hydrofoil (Sea Cat), it's on the same route as Hydra and Spetses. All wonderful destinations. As well as being important during ancient times, these islands played a crucial strategic role during the Greek Revolution of the 1820s and were previously occupied by the Venetians during their lengthy battles with the Ottomans. This is all evident today strolling around the picturesque, steep narrow streets of these islands.

I have long been a fan of Hydra and Spetses, but this was my first visit to Poros (other than admiring it from the hydrofoil). It turns out that Poros ticks many boxes. As well as its interesting history and beautiful location, it is divided into two distinct parts linked by an isthmus. Small steep Sferia is dominated by the bustling, well serviced town and busy marina, whereas the larger green, forested Kalavria has child friendly, sandy beaches ideal for safe swimming, snorkelling and water sports. I was travelling with my daughter, so all these features suited us perfectly. We were also lucky in that the little village house we rented had a small garden with a pool where we were tempted to laze around all day, gazing at our stunning view.

Furthermore, Poros boasts allegedly one of the best tavernas in the Greek islands. The Aspros Gatos (White Cat) is elegantly located just across the tiny isthmus offering stunning views back to Poros Town and across the water to Galatas, increasingly twinkly as the light fades. The taverna dates back to 1909 and is still run by the same family and their charming, enthusiastic staff. Our two meals there included delicious seasonal stuffed vegetables (especially big juicy lemon scented tomatoes) and cheese and herb pies made with delicately crunchy home made filo pastry. A particular highlight was super tender, slow cooked veal in lemon sauce. More local citrus fruit appeared in their orange pie – a sort of baked batter pudding comprising oranges, eggs, vanilla, crushed filo pastry and then soaked with an orange syrup. I drank small carafes of local wine and the prices were incredibly reasonable.

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