My favourite table: Kazu

AS TOLD TO BESS MANSON
Last updated 05:00 23/05/2013
kazu
CHRIS SKELTON/Fairfax NZ

HOMELY FEELING: Miranda Manasiadis at her favourite table at Kazu yakitori and sake bar.

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After a night on stage I like to swap the low lights of the theatre for the low lighting of my favourite haunt, Kazu.

I'm always there pretty late, given the nature of an evening performance, but there's usually a good crowd because it's also a sake bar.

I'll order the spicy soft-shell crab salad or the seaweed salad and rice balls. The food here is so fresh and authentic. I come here two to three times a week when I'm doing a show, usually with people from the cast and crew.

The atmosphere is a nice combination between late-night bar and relaxed restaurant. The service is always very friendly and warm. There's nothing snooty at all about this place.

I go to Deluxe for coffee. The chef Suzy has been cooking there for years. She is the most loving person in the world and it shows in her food. Her macaroons are the best you'll ever taste.

I'm also partial to Pizzeria Napoli fare. It's run by my friend Raffaele De Gregorio and it's like running into a family member there. We grew up together in Island Bay, a real microcosm of Greeks, Italians and Poles.

The thin-crusted pizzas there are excellent, as is the seafood pasta. There's always a really good head count on the octopus and mussels.

I grew up in Island Bay in a Greek household. My mother and sister and I all spoke Greek to one another, we ate Greek food, followed Greek traditions and my mother used to listen to Greek radio.

We went to live in Athens for a year when I was 9 and it was a seamless transition. When I was 17 we started spending more and more time over there. Eventually my mother moved back to Athens and my sister moved to Crete.

We have spent the past two years living in the family home in Athens helping my sister to nurse our mother. Greece is in freefall economically; it's pretty tough but we slotted into life there as we always do.

We sleep in the hottest part of the day and get up around 6pm. We don't usually eat our evening meals there till 10 o'clock.

It's too hot to play in the parks in the middle of the day, so all the parents take their kids to the playground at around 11pm. It's funny to see all these people spring up out of nowhere to play under the lights in the park.

We eat well in Athens - Greek salads, lots of seafood - especially calamari - bread and olive oil. One particularly memorable meal we had was on a Greek island where we sat at a table on the sand and ate stuffed squid with feta, ricotta and herbs. Delicious.

My husband, Jemaine Clement, and our son, Sopho, 4, divide our time these days between Wellington, Athens and New York, where Jemaine has a lot of work.

Aside from acting I also work as a dramaturg and director. This is work I can pretty much do anywhere in the world.

I'm also very involved with Circa Theatre. Right now I'm performing in Dean Parker's Midnight in Moscow.

It's a play about the intrigue that swirled around the New Zealand embassy in Moscow in 1947. It's a fictional play based on real people and real events with dramatic additions.

There's a lot of dialogue taken from literature, memoirs and government reports.

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It's a seamless craft between historical fact and dramatic imitation.

I play Olga Ivinskaya, mistress to poet Boris Pasternak, a real-life character brought back to life in the latter part of the play. Olga was Pasternak's muse, critic, lover and academic backbone. They had a cerebral and spiritual connection. It's a real honour to play someone who was a real figure in history, someone who lived and breathed.

Dean's writing is so intelligent, well researched and enlightening. It's refreshing to be doing something not focusing on cliche kiwiana nostalgia.

This is about looking at the other side of ourselves on a political and historical level.

Midnight in Moscow runs till June 8 at Circa Theatre.


- The Dominion Post

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