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    Wine & Food

    Where to eat Greek food in London

    8 October 2019

    Suzi Tros

    SUZI TROS (Credit- Jade Nina Sarkhel)

    This new Notting Hill opening is the little sister (and neighbour) to the area’s other Hellenic staple; Mazi. The name literally translates as ‘Suzi, you eat’ and, given the delights on offer here, boy would you like to be Suzi.

    The venue is intimate, with a five-seater kitchen counter space in the entrance snaking into a thirty-two-seat dining room behind, and a warm cocktail bar below. The décor is simple, modern and yet inviting. The entire space exudes a sense of charm and a distinct lack of pretension that seeps pleasantly into the brilliant service and relaxed atmosphere.

    The food, however, is unquestionably the main draw here, headed up by chef John Skotidas. The small plates take their cues from Northern Greek cuisine, specifically the flavours of owner Christina Mourataglou’s native Thessaloniki; and offer a delectable array of seafood and vegetables, served without flourish but packed full of taste and sustainability; with ingredients dictated by daily market deliveries.

    We start with courgette crisps and katiki domokou with truffle, which is almost offensively addictive. The seabass carpaccio is another early highlight; striking a light and delicate counter to the courgettes. The dakos with whipped feta cream looked disarmingly so much like a cheesecake, that we were taken aback by the savoury taste, but it’s a genius plate; balanced superbly with cherry tomatoes and courgette flowers. The smoked aubergine was a little too viscous for my liking, but was my dining companion’s standout dish. We both, however, agreed on the chicken gyro tacos (absurdly tasty) and the mastiha-based cocktails- delicious but deadly. Get a taxi home. suzitros.com

    Nissi

    Nissi, London

    Nissi may be Greek, but it is its London location that most informs its flavour. Nestled in the heart of Alderman’s Hill, between Southgate and Palmer’s Green in North London, it sources all of its ingredients daily; from Billingsgate Fish market, Spitalfield’s market and a local butcher. This is the best of the med, through the freshness of local produce.

    The menu is a selection of small plates, all generously proportioned and reasonably priced; from classics like spanakopittes and tahini to Cyprus-style sausages; Pastourma; a spicy and potent blend of lamb and beef. The Cyprus influence continues in one of the restaurant’s main meat offerings; Brizola, a grilled Tomapork chop served with a luscious honey and mustard sauce, yet I find it’s the fish dishes which most capture the taste-buds. Fresh whole sea bream is chargrilled simply, but wonderfully effectively, with olive and lemon, and the swordfish souvlaki and deep-fried whitebait are other standout dishes. Head for classic Greek fare in a laid-back, yet cosy, atmosphere. https://www.nissirestaurant.co.uk

    Opso

    Opso, London

    There’s a lot of fanfare around Opso, and deservedly so. This Paddington based venue, proudly flies the flag for modern Greek dining and has even spawned a street-food iteration in Carnaby Street. The décor is cool and contemporary; all light wood, metalwork and low-hanging artisanal lighting, a world away from the trappings of traditional Greek bistro. The menu replicates this approach; taking classic Hellenic fare and giving it a fresh kick. The concept is modern Greek tapas: small dishes packed with Greek tradition and flavoured with global imagination. There’s a Greek salad ceviche, a seabream sashimi and mouth-watering metsovone croquettes, made with homemade rhubarb jam. The feta section correctly identifies that this Greek mega cheese deserves special attention and the feta saganaki- with green peppers and wilted cherry tomatoes, is truly delicious. Then there’s a grilled aubergine and braised beef ragu moussaka which oozes béchamel sauce and which could actually be life changing. Anyone else hungry? http://www.opso.co.uk

    Opso, Paddington, London

    Meraki

    This place is seriously cool: a chic, modern, neutral-palette of a restaurant in the heart of Fitzrovia, London’s vastly-growing new culinary hub. Yet, of course, Meraki is far more than just the sum of its cream seating. It’s the menu here which truly shines; a seabass tartare served with caviar, a spinach pie salad, even a simple salad of Santorini cherry tomatoes is elevated with a delicious blend of thyme, caper and goats cheese. The fare here is upmarket Greek, with a sinful menu headed up by legendary chef Athinagoras Kostakos (perhaps best known for his work at Myconian juggernauts Scorpios and Branco) and a cocktail menu that is as impressive with its non-alcoholic creations as its boozier options. But to fully ‘go Greek’? Visit on a Sunday for their Greek Feast and choose from four dishes designed to be shared between four. These treats include a whole lobster with orzo pasta and a 1.2kg slow-cooked leg of lamb. Get ready to smash some plates. (Only don’t, this place is pricey). https://meraki-restaurant.com

    Lemonia

    Lemonia, London

    This long-standing North London staple not only serves some of the best traditional Greek food in London, it just so happens to be one of my locals. Lemonia has been serving up Hellenic highlights since 1979 and is still family run. The interiors are an airy, plant-strewn delight, designed to kid you into thinking you are dining on souvlaki, al fresco, in the courtyard of a Greek taverna. The food here will do that too. It is paired-back, no-nonsense cuisine: this is all the heroes of Greek food, served in all their glory. Portions are generous, well-seasoned and, crucially, well-priced. The lack of pretension that dominates Lemonia, extends to their famous £13.50 three-course weekday lunch menu, though I would recommend heading here on a weekend evening, with a raucous group of friends, for a relaxed celebration, or just some of their thoroughly decent saganaki, kalamari, mousakka or their delicious signature meze. http://www.lemonia.co.uk