Why London is hot up for Greek cooking

Greco-Australian: Esti is hosting a pop-up at TT Liquor (Fact sheet)

There have been good Greek restaurants in London for a long time, but recently there has been a stronger than usual whiff of olive oil. It is the latest place to be announced Kim, a new “fin-to-gill” seafood restaurant opening next month in Marylebone (57 Paddington Street, W1U, kimarestaurant.com). Translating as “wave” in Greek, Kima will be the third project in London from Andreas Labridis and chef Nikos Roussos, the duo behind above, which sits opposite the new venue (10 Paddington Street, W1U, opso.co.uk), and lively gastrobar Carnaby Ino (4 Newburgh Street, W1F, inorestaurant.com).

Between the three, Roussos and Labridis have started a large empire, bringing Hellenic flavors from sea and land. At Ino, find rich feta squares over a classic salad; at the Kima which is to be opened soon, grilled octopus, prawns and olive fish drenched in oil, a tribute to those white and blue islands loved by tourists.

But there is more of late. Take Esti, a new six-month residency at TT Liquor in Shoreditch (17B Kingsland Road, E2, ttliquor.co.uk). The restaurant, from newcomer Kostas Vais, has tried to combine traditional Greek cooking with Australian hospitality. On the menu are twice-cooked lamb ribs with tzatziki and Cornish fish alongside garlic skordalia.

It’s not all that humble. bacchanalia (1-3 Mount Street, W1, bacchanalia.co.uk) Richard Caring’s modern Grecian-cum-Roman restaurant orgy. Diners sit beneath white porcelain plates and Mayfair becomes mythological; you could call it Stath Lets Flats after a lottery win. It’s another new spot for taramas, keftedes and juicy Greek sausages and, an assault on the senses as it may be, it’s quite fun.

Building an empire: Andreas Labridis with chef Nikos Roussos.  The pair are opening Kima next month (Press leaflet)

Building an empire: Andreas Labridis with chef Nikos Roussos. The pair are opening Kima next month (Press leaflet)

Old hands are starting to pick up renewed attention, too. Andy’s Tavern in Camden (23 Pratt Street, NW1, andystaverna.co.uk) was established in 1967 and is every bit a neighborhood institution. It’s a cozy and romantic spot for traditional spanakopita, dolmades and kalamari, and prices don’t go above £20 if steaks enter the equation. Lemon in Primrose Hill (89 Regent’s Park Road, NW1, lemon.co.uk) is another family joint that brings diners to the sunny Aegean from a buzzing pocket of north London. It is – and take this as a positive – a restaurant that Richard Curtis could write about: positive, traditional, where old-timers serve up the chattering classes great bowls of lamb stew and glasses of Retsina that’s not much of a story . Meanwhile, ouzo and fresh fish are the stars at the Four Lanterns (96 Cleveland Street, W1T, 020 7387 0704), which featured in two reviews by David Ellis of the Standard — besting the soulless Zephyr in Notting Hill (itself inspired by Grecian), and location of Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy, the River Restaurant. , who happen to have some of the same tableware.

And then there is the unassuming Catalyst Coffee (48 Grays Inn Road, WC1X, catalyst.cafe), an industry favorite that started last summer to rekindle interest in the Greek restaurant scene. Its hyper-modern cooking, performed by an ever-changing roster of talented chefs, has been called “inventive” and “exhilarating” by the likes of the Standard’s own head chef Jimi Famurewa. Amazingly, it’s served with the whimsy of a Mykonos fisherman, smoking a cigarette and downing a strong espresso from the board.

We live in feta covered days. Pass the ouzo and sprinkle on the oregano. The Greeks have arrived, and London is living their odyssey.

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