26 July 2014
Certainly not for the introverts as the communal tables at this breakfast, brunch and dinner cafe/bistro are noisy and rather claustrophobic, although there are separate tables dotted around too, as well tables outside to enjoy the sunshine. Upon entering, the first thing you notice is the light in the place: splendid floor to ceiling windows give a wonderful impression of airy space and vibrancy as you pass the bar with stools where you can also eat or just grab a coffee and a Greek pastry. We came for lunch on a sunny day and had to resist the temptation of a delicious selection of their own original cocktails on the wall, including “Cucumber Sour” with Metaxa brandy and basil and “Rakomelo” made with the eponymous Greek liqueur made from honey, mixed with ginger beer and freshly squeezed limes, all of which at £8 each are competitively priced.
The food is light, fresh and all very well presented: we chose a selection of plates to share starting with Taramas cream – a sensational, cod roe spread with tasty olive seed crackers. Forget your supermarket taramasalata – this bore no resemblance and simply blew it away! Light and creamy, we could have eaten it all day! With that we had Dakos, a variant on a Greek Salad created with olive oil rusks, capers, cherry tomatoes, creamy feta cheese, red onion and olives – a mouthwatering blend of flavours that went perfectly with our next dish, spinach pie. Again, everything was freshly prepared and presented either on small wooden boards, lined with parchment paper for good hygiene, or on on-trend square plates – all just the right size for 2 to share. Next up was Metsovone – a deep fried, smoked cheese set off magnificently with a chutney of homemade rhubarb jam. Impressive too was that the wait staff didn't serve everything all at once, it just came steadily and unobtrusively, all timed in with our appetite so that we were not surrounded immediately by an avalanche of dishes. To finish we shared a Fishburger, 2 small brioche buns died with squid ink, each with a chunk of fresh fish, with a squid ink mayo and chunky chips (which naughtily we used to wipe out the bowl of Taramas cream!!). All washed down with a very drinkable bottle of Thymiopoulos Rose 2013, a Greek rose that could have been taken for a Provençal and was a steal at £25.00. The staff, seemingly a mixture of Italians and Portuguese, although there may well have been some Greeks in amongst them too, were busy, friendly and attentive, happy to explain any and all of our dumb questions about the food and drinks. So what are the downsides? To be honest, very few, but a Greek restaurant that doesn't serve Greek coffee? Surely not, but it's true. The one thing we wanted after our meal was a strong, hot, foamy brew of real Greek coffee, made in a briki with the grounds on the bottom of the cup. No go. Beware of the opening hours – it is not yet open all day and close between 4 and 6 pm. Oh, and they don't yet take American Express although the maitre d' told me they would soon. Total lunch bill – a very reasonable £75.00 which for the quality was excellent value. For the winter evenings there is an extensive dining area in the basement which although ready and waiting was not yet in use but will doubtless prove invaluable once word gets around about this place.