London’s hidden Greek secrets by Fergus Price.
Back in the day, the ancient Greeks stole a march on everyone else in the civilised world: in between inventing the Olympics, democracy and Western thought as we know it, Socrates and his ilk proved to be a dab hand in the kitchen too, masterfully blending flavours from all over the world.
Now, a select few restaurants around London are determined to drag their native land back to the forefront of world cuisine and, after attending an event at the first restaurant below, I decided to compile and share a rough and ready list of three authentic Greek eateries that know their Spanacopitta from their Souvlaki…
The Real Greek - 56 Paddington Street, Paddington, London W1
This intimate establishment in Marylebone - one of six around London – is devoted to bringing the best of Greek cuisine to London, and recently teamed up with Tonia Buxton, presenter of “My Greek Kitchen” (pictured above), to craft a selection of seasonal dishes including sumptuous Beef Stifado and pan-seared prawns with feta.
Andy’s Taverna - 81 Bayham Street, Camden, London NW1
A forty-year-old fixture on the backstreets of Camden that imports most of its produce straight from the Greek island of Aegina, this humble restaurant has demonstrated remarkable staying power thanks to a mouth-watering and affordable menu (try the grilled sea bass, at £13.95), and a wonderfully friendly atmosphere.
Retsina – 48 Belsize Lane, Belsize Park, London NW3
This smart, picturesque venue in Belsize Park specialises in classic Greek dishes such as souvlaki, meze and grilled octopus, with an attention to detail and authenticity unmatched anywhere in London. Close your eyes, sit next to a heater and you’ll be in Corfu in no time!