Exclusive with Ethos Creative Director, Georgio

Ethos is a gorgeous Mediterranean restaurant in Morningside/Sandton and they’ve just launched a delectable new Spring menu. It’s a Sher thing was privileged enough to receive an exclusive interview with creative director and interior designer, Georgio Tatsakis. Read our exclusive below.

 

1. Where does the name Ethos come from?

Ethos, is the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations.

2. Where did you grow up?

I was born in Johannesburg and had the privilege to have grown up in Athens, Greece, as well as in Johannesburg. 

3. We see lots of Mediterranean inspiration at Ethos, what sets you apart from other similar restaurants?

Ethos can be described as a reinvented Mediterranean experience. Every detail has been thought out. From our menu to our interiors, from the staff uniforms to Ethos’ extraordinary entrance, we have meticulously laid out the Mediterranean story, bringing extravagance to every corner and a message of authenticity.

 

From a food standpoint, our food can be described as traditional Mediterranean meals, in which have been reinvented and modernised. As for the interiors, The inspiration came from the unique and timeless features that are seen throughout the Mediterranean. No one can deny that the Mediterranean is very alluring, thus, we tried to make the space at Ethos alluring by bringing and adapting timeless features into the space!

 

Ethos has been a lifetime in the making! Throughout my travels the past few years I have been gathering inspiration to bring back and incorporate into Ethos. We went for quite a minimalist and tranquil look and feel in the space, with very minimal use of colour. We kept the palette clean and simple. With the foundations of the space being minimal and toned down, we had the opportunity of creating a few features throughout the space. Such features can be seen in our bar area, our structural columns, open kitchen display, and our private dining and lastly our central olive tree.

 

The first feature that customers will interact with upon walking into Ethos, is our feature on the wall behind our alcohol display and bar. This feature was created by an incredible artist by the name of Elaine Jansen Van Rensburg. The piece mimics the underwater world of the Mediterranean! One of my favourite objects working with is structural columns! I love the challenge of transforming them into something beautiful. All of our structural columns have been clad in wood that has been fluted, and then finished off with an off white colour. The columns also gave me an opportunity to add the gorgeous Beetle wall lights from Studio19 into the space. 

 

To the owners, the open kitchen had to be the showstopper within the main dining hall! Therefore we opted at bringing black into the somewhat neutral space to draw people’s eyes directly to the heart of the space. The open kitchen ties in with the curved and organic ceilings, however, creates a bit of drama. The tiles were all individually handmade and imported from Morocco, through Opia designs. The tiles are from the Zellige collection. Even though they are simple, they still, like the stucco wall effect within the restaurant, allow the sun to slightly reflect off them, just enough to not distract and take attention away from the front lining wood coal-fired machines imported from Spain.

 

Our private dining room is probably the most simple room within the space. We have done so so that people using the room can transform the space to suit their function. However, the room does have one feature, that being the fireplace! The fireplace in the private dining room resembles the ancient features of Athens. The inspiration for this was taken directly from The Parthenon. Last but not least, the central olive tree in the space ties everything in together! What speaks more of the Mediterranean than an olive tree? We managed to further bring the Mediterranean to the heart of Sandton, using our talented local manufacturers and artisans.

4. What 3 ingredients will we always find in your personal pantry at home at any time?

Lemons, organum & olive oil (the perfect Mediterranean combination) 

5. Is this a family-run restaurant and how is the family involved?

Ethos is truly a labour of love with its unique quality of being a family run restaurant. Even though it is a sophisticated space and establishment, from the beginning Ethos has been a passion project for the whole family. My father and myself brainstormed and created the concept of Ethos and all that it is known for today. My parents Chris and Hellen Tatsakis are the owners, I had the privilege of being the creative director and interior designer of the space, and my sister Mary and I designed all of the crockery you see in the space (@claybymg).  

6. What’s your go too quick-fix meal to make at home?

Definitely my grandmothers traditional Cypriot Keftedes (meatballs). 

7. What inspired your Spring menu?

Spring is a time of rebirth, renewal and awakening. This resonated with us in many ways because of the current situation we are all facing. Our Spring menu was created and inspired to inhabit a reawakening and a rebirth of our restaurant industry after what felt like a very long couple of months    

8. What are your personal favorites from the Spring menu?

My personal favourites from our newly launched spring/summer menu have to be our Burrata starter, which consists of roasted vine tomatoes, confit pepper, grapefruit and a Parma Grande reduction. For mains my favorite has to be our tomato and mozzarella tortellini, which consists of tomato infused pasta, filled with marinated mozzarella, pine nut & sage creme, Smokey tomato essence and Parmesan foam and lastly for dessert our refreshing Summer berry pavlova, which is a concoction of strawberry sorbet, African summer granita, yoghurt cremeux, strawberry mousse, candied strawberries and raspberry meringue shards. 

9. The coconut dessert is so unique, what inspired that idea?

The popular coconut dessert at Ethos has a truly remarkable story behind it. One of my father’s very close friends Yiannis Kaldanis (@yianniskaldanis) flew all the way from Athens to Johannesburg to put together our new dessert menu. He is renowned for his worldwide consulting to restaurants such as Juls in Ibiza and Nammos in Mykonos. The coconut was a dessert in which he created when invited to guest judge an episode of MasterChef Greece. 

10. What can we expect next from Ethos?

We have an exciting new expansion planned for Ethos (@ethos.sa) and we cannot wait to show you what we have planned! Ethos prides itself on being a Mediterranean restaurant within South Africa. We have achieved this by adding South Africa dry-aged and wet-aged meat to our menu, in which is cooked on our open fire, charcoal machines imported from Spain.

 

Tamryn Sher
tamrynsher@gmail.com
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