There is one villa placard by the road signaling a deep descent, say four per cent, say a double black ski run, between Nisaki and Agni pointing to the bay. Nisaki Bay, as opposed to Nisaki itself, which is actually the other side of Kaminaki, another beach outlet reached by a vertiginous stretch of old concrete, another three per cent descent from where you could also walk along the shore. There are lots of confusing Ks around here going north to Krouzeri, Kalami (where the Durrell family hung out), Kaloura, Kerasia, Kasiopi. In season it is a bit Kensington on sea, a public school summer camp. Google struggles with Greek and if you search for the Koyrzeri Taverna, you will end up in Turkey. This is Corfu.
A krouzeria might be an excellent moniker for a tavern – but walk on a bit to the falling down wooden jetty and to your right snuggled into the cliff, almost invisible in fact. That it has three doors next to the WC sign might suggest things are not as sleepy as they may seem. An illuminated cocktail bar wedged into the cliff beams affluence.
Yiannis is the kind of place hippies used to write home about, the kind of place nice girls stayed all summer or longer. This is Leonard Cohen and Marianne territory (well not really, that was Mykonos, but might as well be). You want a view, try this one. There is no music, just a lapping, swoosh of the flat sea and the hum of an outboard motor.
Yiannis’s is a proper restaurant, part of the shore economy, mother in the kitchen, family out front. For mysterious reasons sparkling water is the same price as beer at 4 euros, either of which will make up a goodly percentage of the bill.
Beyond the stifado and dolmades we have Pork in the Oven – belly rolled around local hedgerow herbs mainly sage which is Corfu’s emblematic leaf , thick slices, so not quite souvlaki which is loin. Enough people must have asked what the stifado was that it is now just Beef in Red Wine. No bling.
Taramosalata is white (bread not tomatoes), the aubergine salad is an elegant mix with tomato, not bread which comes warm in a paper bag, courgettes are thinly sliced and fried crisp.
How fresh do you want your fish? Here is the boat moored outside. The morning catch is in the chill cabinet, pick your own. The grill is on. The coals are hot. Mullet? Snapper? Bream? Bass? Mixed? Grilled prawns are 16 euros, add spaghetti for another two euros. The fish comes with chips and very fine chips they are too, shallow fried in olive oil. To the side as garnish is a tomato. Now on Corfu the tomato is not what you find in Waitrose. It is a nmotata pronounced as in No Matter. They are different things, even laid up as a garnish. A nmotata is even a ντομάτα. It is changing the typeface on my computer as I type as if to make the point that my spellcheck is confused. It might aswell be hakuna matata, the basis of much of the cooking. This is a country where an anchovy translates as fried where a sardine means grills.
Yiannis is the quintessential restaurant-you-may-never-have-heard-of, even a bit of a surprise to the visitors who stumble off the ferry three times a week for the authentic taverna lunch off the same pier, ironically where the water taxi picks up to whisk people staying locally to other restaurants with a free boat ride thrown in…probably no better than here anyway. They should have stayed put.