One of the Greek Nation’s biggest passions is food, the quality of the ingredients and traditional dishes are all part of what makes Greece a popular tourist destination and its cuisine highly regarded by those who choose to partake of it.
But ask a lot of people and often what they envisage is the stereotypical taverna, with a paper table cloth and perhaps Zorba the Greek’s theme tune playing in the background. Whilst there isn’t anything wrong with this per say, there is now a new wave of operators bringing Greek food firmly into the 21st Century, choosing locations like London and New York for example, as starting points for their ventures.
The concepts vary from fast-casual to fine dining but are all motivated by bringing Modern Greek cuisine to consumers.
One of the more established brands is Estiatorio Milos, trading for some years in Montreal, Athens and selected locations in the USA.
The restaurant, led by acclaimed chef Costas Spiliadis, specialises in fish and they display this beautifully in their restaurants. The quality of the food is exceptional and the setting is a perfect example of a fusion of Greek hospitality and the old décor mixed with a fine dining feel.
The brand launched in London in 2015 and are, without a doubt, a must for those wishing to sample some of the best seafood dishes Greece has to offer.
The Life Goddess operate out of two sites in London’s Bloomsbury and Carnaby Street.
Diners are treated to a slice of the Mediterranean by the brand who are serving up their signature home-style Greek cuisine from their restaurant in Kingly Court, all prepared using traditional cooking methods, fresh authentic ingredients and boasting an exclusive wine list from the One Barrel Project.
The deli in Bloomsbury is fully stocked with over 300 specialist items, all sourced from artisan producers in Greece.
Whilst the focus for the brand is on traditional produce, the interiors are modern with the deli items for sale worked into the design of both the restaurant and the deli.
Suvlaki, based in Soho’s Bateman Street since May 2015, provide a simple menu designed by acclaimed chef Elias Mamalakis specialising in the delicious Greek souvlaki.
The concept was co-founded by Yannis Theodorakakos, a former finance professional, who seized the opportunity to launch the concept in London to bring an authentic piece of Athens and its cultural heritage to the UK, all whilst serving quality simple ingredients, cooked with time honoured traditional methods.
The restaurant encapsulates the food and atmosphere of an Athenian grill house. The exterior of this modern fast-causal restaurant is decorated with a verse from the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy’s Ithaca, the theme of which is the enjoyment of the journey of life. The interior was designed by London-based designer Afroditi Krassa, who took her inspiration from the urban neighbourhoods of Athens, adding touches such as satirical graffiti mixed with marble partial columns, modern lighting and an open kitchen area.
Across the pond, Greek yoghurt is certainly a trend and Greecologies in New York’s Nolita, do this exceptionally well. Specialising in strained and traditional yoghurt which is handmade and churned on site, their menu features sweet and savoury treats for consumers to enjoy.
Alongside this, they serve coffee, freshly made juices, salads and artisanal organic products including honey and strained tomatoes and a range of preserves in flavours such as rose petal, bergamot, sour cherry, and carrot. All of these products are made in Greece and can be purchased to take away or as a topper for yoghurt to eat in.
The interior is modern, white walls accented with some quirky touches such as a shelving unit made of Greek books and an area where consumers can view the on-site yoghurt lab.
Sotiris Bakery, located in Bristol’s Park Row is the first of its kind in the city.
Serving speciality coffee, sweet and savoury pastries and traditional sweets, freshly prepared at the café. The owner Sotiris Bourbos comes from a family with a rich pastry making history and is proud to be serving his family recipes that transport you to Greece with every bite.
As the large metropolises have embraced the Greek dining trend, operators and consumers appear to be in agreement on the potential for growth of this sector on a National scale.