is name was Andreas. He was
ve foot six, most of which
was eyebrow, and always remembered our names. He
was our waiter at Lemonia, the Primrose Hill institution
that has served as the bastion of the Greek restaurant
scene in London for the past 30 years and where for
rst 16 years of my life, I celebrated every one of
my own and my Grandma's birthdays. Andreas didn't balk when my
grandmother pronounced his retsina "worse than Kosher wine" and
was approximately 103 years old, though continued to dash back and
forth with the plates of halloumi, dolmades, hummus and moussaka
that have earned Lemonia its loyal following. But change is afoot. A
raft of new modern Greek restaurants have opened in the capital
and, coupled with the renaissance in Greek wine, are creating a new
benchmark for the cuisine, turning the old perceptions on their head.
It started in 2012, with Mazi in Notting Hill. "When we
Mazi some people were asking why we didn't have kleftico and
hummus - and why we had an all-Greek wine list. No one asks
that any more," says co-founder Christina Mouratoglou. One of the
reasons for Mazi's success, she suggests, is to do with traditional
the London zeitgeist for
small and sharing plates.
"Mazi means 'together'
in Greek, lots of food
coming out as and when
people want it - rather
than a regimented starter,
main course, dessert,"
With a recent pop-up
supper club at Fortnum
Mason, international franchises planned in Dubai and America, and
rst cookbook under way, the zeal with which Londoners have
embraced Mazi is a testament to how much it was needed.
squaremeal.co.uk | 73
"IN GREEK FOOD, THE
INGREDIENT IS KING.
sh burger in squid ink bun (above left) £6, Opso
Grilled octopus, garden herb potato salad, olive tapanade
(above right) £24, Mazi
Soutzouki sausage and root vegetable melitzanosalata
(smoked aubergine salad) £6, The Greek Larder
Mushroom and halloumi pitta burger £10, the Hungry Donkey
Mastelo cheese and vegetable souvlaki skewer glazed with pine
r-tree honey and mustard Three for £10, Suvlaki
From top: Opso's yellow fava beans and smoked eel dish; galaktoboureko
pastry dessert from Mazi; co-founders of Mazi Christina Mouratoglou
and Adrien Carre; Opso in Marylebone; a Hungry Donkey souvlaki wrap.
Opposite page: Mazi's mildly battered fresh oysters with chilli and lime
There's more to Greek cuisine than lukewarm
slabs of moussaka. Here are fi ve inspiring dishes
available to try now on London menus