An Exclusive Interview with Mr. Papavramopoulos Panagiotis, General Manager of Esperisma Bar Restaurant in Santorini
Esperisma Bar Restaurant is situated in the most breathtaking of locations overlooking Santorini’s uniquely beautiful caldera. Under the guidance of our Executive Chef, it serves up an innovative menu with a variety of delectable dishes inspired by fresh local ingredients.
We talked to the General Manager of Esperisma Bar Restaurant, Mr. Papavramopoulos Panagiotis, about where they get their food inspiration, the local ingredients and the philosophy behind the restaurant’s offerings as well as their plans for the future.
Luxury Lifestyle Awards: What makes your restaurant unique?
Papavramopoulos Panagiotis: They say that the beginning is the half of everything.
And the “beginning” for Esperisma Bar Restaurant is the location. It is located in one of the most breathtaking places of the world, at Santorini’s caldera with the unique view and energy. It’s a rare advantage! But it can easily transform into a disadvantage because as we said before…it’s only the beginning. And after the first shock for the guests, the continuation of their experience is our responsibility to stay loyal and worthy to the beauty of the location.
The knowledge, the will, the professionalism, the research & development, our passion for hospitality and our people, are creating a palette where we draw energy, we transform it into senses, and we transmit it to our guests.
LLA: Where do most of your guests come from?
PP: We have guests from all over the world. Each day & night, our restaurant looks like a colorful canvas with people that come from every corner of the globe. But the largest percentage of our guests are from USA and Australia.
LLA: Where do you get your inspiration for the dishes you create at Esperisma?
PP: The Mediterranean nature and its treasures are the base for our dishes. And on that base, we interact with local ingredients and techniques so as to create a menu that shares the same DNA with Greece and Santorini Island. Of course, we have some options in our menu from different cultures, to please all our guests.
LLA: What sort of local ingredients are available to you?
PP: The unique volcanic land of Santorini and its special climate are making the perfect canvas to produce high-quality products. The volcanic activity has made the soil very fertile. That made the perfect circumstances for a rapid development of Santorini’s agriculture and viticulture. We cultivate our own farms, with ecological and environmental awareness and complete lack of chemical additives, and we grow local agricultural products on which Santorini is specialized, like:
Split Peas (Fava): A vegetable that looks smaller than a pea and makes one of the most famous and delicious dishes of Santorini. Fava has been classified as a product with Protected Designation of Origin (P.D.O.).
Capers (Kapari): A vegetable of the size of the pea which is one of the secrets of the famous Greek Salad recipe.
Cherry Tomato: Grows only on Santorini land which is the result of the lack of the water. This product has also gained a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) recognition.
White Eggplant: A rare type of eggplant that is distinguished by its white color, shape, rich flesh and fruity and mild flavor, much sweeter than the common purple eggplant, with very few seeds.
Katsouni (cucumber): A slightly different kind of cucumber named after the inhabitants of Santorini. It is smaller, thicker, cooler and lighter than the common cucumber and has some seeds. It is a necessary ingredient in the traditional Greek salad, plus it makes a great spoon sweet.
LLA: Is seasonality an important factor in designing your menu?
PP: Gastronomy means Nature. Nature means Balance & Wisdom. When you respect Nature, you respect its rhythm and it’s seasons. Seasonality is a principle for us.
LLA: What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
PP: Our favorite ingredients are the fresh and seasonal ingredients. The ingredients that are the protagonists of our dishes and will be the best ambassadors of our culture and hospitality.
And every time that the recipe of a dish gives us the freedom and the opportunity of a twist, we love to use local ingredients that come from the land of Santorini.
LLA: Tell us about some of the most impressive dishes you have created.
PP: Honestly, I can’t say that any of the dishes is more impressive than the other. Each dish and recipe remain faithful to our primary purpose, which is to create a menu that will highlight the beauty and the uniqueness of the Mediterranean nature and its secrets.
LLA: What is your favorite dish currently on the menu?
PP: Our favorite dish is the one that will always make our guest happy, smiling and satisfied.That gives us the strength to constantly evolve and invest in what we love most. Hospitality and Gastronomy.
LLA: How do you keep on top of food trends and developments?
PP: Nowadays, the evolution of gastronomy passes through a global community that has open channels of communication for continuous exchange of information and developments on food technology and its application.Therefore, the love for what we do keeps us consistent in the pursuit of taste and in the continuous evolution of the hospitality services that we offer to our guests.
LLA: Can you explain what you can offer in terms of private dining experiences?
PP: Our private balcony is ideal for intimate dinners overlooking the volcano. Set with fresh flowers, candles and romantic decorations this meal will be the most memorable of your adventures in Santorini.
We offer a unique taste experience under the watchful eye of our executive chef, who creates a 5-course degustation menu releasing all his thoughts and experiences. Combining the breathtaking views, mouthwatering flavors and refreshing cocktails, prepare yourselves for a unique romantic experience. We can also book a photographer or videographer for the guest, make them a special flower bouquet of their choice, set fountain fireworks on the floor, design for them a romantic heart with candles on the floor, book for them artists for live music on private (like harp, saxophone, guitar, piano, flute and vocals, that can be a combination of their choice. But we must notice that we are always by the side of our guests, so as to hear their needs and their requests, and to ensure them that we can make almost everything happen.
LLA: Who is in charge of selecting the wines that are served in the restaurant? Is it an international wine list?
PP: My partners and I are lovers of gastronomy and quality wine.Aware of the uniqueness of the varieties produced by Santorini but also our personal choices too, in combination with the continuous informing of what is happening in the world of wine, and with the guidance of an experienced sommelier, we have come up with a list that emphasizes local viticulture without omitting varieties and suggestions from the international scene where they will please even our most demanding visitors.Every year we make additions of quality wines that we taste during the year but also from varieties that we believe will match with the new recipes that we add to the food menu.
LLA: Are local Santorini wines featured?
PP: One of the most unique gifts of Nature, that you can taste in Santorini, is Wine! So it would be a big omission if we didn’t have local wines in our wine list.
There are varieties of grapes that someone can discover only in Santorini. The main reasons for this “taste miracle” are the following:
First, the rich volcanic soil and the underground and its trace elements.
Second, the low level of annual amount of rainfall and the increased humidity all year round.
These are the main factors that played major role, so as the locals had to adapt the cultivation of the vineyards and develop a distinct art in the island.
Through centuries of know-how local wine producers have now created a true legend worldwide.
LLA: What sort of wines are produced on the island?
PP: The varieties that you will find in Santorini are:
Asyrtico (which is the 80% of the island production), Athiri and Aidani from the White wines.
Mavrotragano, Voudomato and Mandilaria from the Red wines.
Santorini’s wines are characterized by strong aromas and flavors, and high alcohol levels.
You will find three PDO (“Protected Designation of Origin”) wines in Santorini.
Asyrtico is the name of the variety that includes all the flavors and the aromas of Santorini, in one wine.
Vinsanto is the worldwide known traditional sweet wine of Santorini that is made from sun-dried grapes.
Nychteri is the aged wine that took its name be the Greek word “Nychta”, which in English means “Night”, because all the winemaking operations, were taking place only by night.
LLA: Tell us about the special selection of cocktail selection created for guests?
PP: For us, the visit of a guest to our restaurant is a ritual. Our goal is to offer a total experience at all levels of quality gastronomy.So the suggestions from our award-winning bar, move to a particularly high level. Aside our rich spirit list you can find to our bar, our cocktail suggestions are designed to cover all stages of a dinner and all tastes.You will find cocktails with low alcohol content, various delicious variations of spritzes, emblematic classic cocktails and our own twists on it, cocktails that are inspired by the Greek and international distillery, creations for perfect cigar pairing but also suggestions inspired from the pastry world.We also have suggestions that are specially designed for special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, etc.Of course, we have the knowledge and the experience to make any cocktail we will be asked to, based on any demand and preference of our guests.
LLA: Where does the inspiration for them come from?
PP: The initial inspiration comes from the vision we have for our restaurant and the hospitality experience we want to create.We want the result to be in complete harmony with the spirit of the restaurant but also the character of Santorini. The implementation comes from influences that I have acquired through my many years as a bartender but also the continuous development of the techniques that we use for the preparation of cocktails.
LLA: What are your plans for the future? Are there any special events or menu creations coming up?
PP: Our primary goal and commitment for the future is to remain faithful to the sacred principles of hospitality and gastronomy. We want to evolve at a steady pace based on the quality and the developments that take place in the world of gastronomy.Of course, we love a lot what we do, where in combination with the inspiration that Santorini gives us but also the people who visit it, results in to have various ideas and projects to be implemented in the future, such as collaborations with emblematic wineries, special nights where we will host renowned chefs from around the world, but also an even bigger upgrade of private dinner services and collaborations that we cannot announce yet.