Is there anything better than salty feta? Not just poets (that don’t know it), we’re now also massive converts to Greek cuisine, after doing a bit of mediterranean feasting in London last week. Think Greek food is all fried cheese and pink spreads in tubs? Think again. We just got your breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted. (Perhaps avoid trying them all on the same day though…unless you want to be dehydrated for the next week).
1. The best for breakfast… The Athenian Grocery, Bayswater
So you can’t sit in at The Athenian Grocery but it is the oldest Greek Deli in the UK, so we kind of forgive them. Situated on an unassuming street corner just off Queensway, this cute little blue and white deli hasn’t changed much since 1952, meaning they’ve got over 60 years experience in sourcing the best Eastern mediterranean cuisine. From Cretan rusks to Greek Island Thyme Honey, the store is chock-a-block with every Greek goodie you could think of – and their massive hunks of feta cheese are worth the visit alone. Buy some Greek yoghurt and honey and top it with walnuts and you’ve got yourself the perfect breakfast. No silly London price tags either.
16a Moscow Road, W2 4BT
2. The best for lunch… Hungry Donkey, Whitechapel
This light and bright space just off Petticoat Lane is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat if you’re in East. Influenced by Athenian street food, with organically sourced and biodynamic products making regular appearances on the menu, the food at Hungry Donkey is quick, fresh and simple, just as the best Greek should be. All the dips you know and love are there on the menu (and they’re a hell of a lot better than the plastic pot kind) and the fried sagnaki cheese is so good, it’s oh-my-god-order-another-before-you’ve-finished-the-first. Main dishes include stuffed fresh pittas and ‘Smashing Plates’, such as the much-loved classic, moussaka. Hot, bubbling and delicious, it promises to be better than your mama’s… And it is. (But shhh, don’t tell her we said that).
56 Wentworth St, E1 7AL
3. The best for dinner: Opso, Marylebone
Opso is anything but traditional. With a clean, airy, modern feel and refined small plates – or mezédes – that are razzed up to suit a slightly more sophisticated crowd, Opso is like the humble taverna’s glamorous older cousin. Forget the bright pink taramaslata that haunts you from your childhood, here the creamy taramas is white and delicate – perfect spread on some grilled sourdough bread. If you’re a feta fanatic, you won’t get fresher than the cheese in the ‘Dakos’ salad: with cherry tomatoes that burst in your mouth, crispy olive oil rusks and fresh red onion, it will transport you back to holidays in Crete. Snails are on the menu too, which we have a lot of respect for. Cooked to perfection, they come with bacon, coated in a rich sauce that soaks into the bed of crispy fries that lie beneath them.
There’s no denying it: it’s a salty affair, but let’s face it, it wouldn’t be Greek food if you didn’t have to make constant grabs for the jug of tap water every 10 minutes. It’s also a great excuse to try a bottle of wine from their extensive drinks list, all sourced from Greece, obviously. The puddings, however, steal the show: try the soft molasses chocolate cookie with salted caramel ice cream walnuts, and butterscotch sauce. It’s a cookie sandwich for grown ups, which made us feel almost as gooey inside as the little bite of loukoumi that came on the side of our Greek coffee. We’ll drink to that.
10 Paddington St, W1U 5QL