One of the best things about this here blog is that people have started sending me ideas about places I should go to, things I should do and food I should eat. My friend Eliza from Nation of Two Plus One, contacted me the other day and asked me a question to which she knew the answer. “Do you want to have good Greek food that feels like Greek food?” Other than the affirmative there can be no other answer.
I have previously noted how I hate pretend Greek food, which you can find in abundance in London. What we miss is food that is homely. It will never be mum’s cooking of course. We can’t even get that in Greece, unless we go to mum’s house. What we can get – in a variety of eateries dotted around the cities – is magirefto. Now, magirefto literally translates as cooked. What we mean in a practical sense is pot cooked or oven cooked dishes (think stews and such). What we also mean in a symbolic sense is homely food. Satisfying. The type you would cook at home. That sort of thing.
Eliza suggested trying the Green Door, an eatery just opened by Dimitris and Sifis and still very much under development. Here is the story. Dimitris is from Thessaloniki, Sifis from Crete. They met in London when Dimitris was getting the Green Door started and started working together. What this means is that they bring ideas from the North of Greece and the South of Greece into the food. Sifis goes around Crete looking for the best he can get (their food is legendary down there) and Dimitris rides a motorcycle around London, finding the producers he really wants to work with.
Dimitris was particularly worried about me since I don’t eat fish and I was naughty (or nice) enough to let him know beforehand. I bet he was expecting a weirdo to walk through the door but hey – ho it’s only little ol’ me.
On to the food then.
The salads are generous, with the tzatziki being particularly yummy. I really like the dakos but the rusk can be a bit tough so ask them according to preference to soften it up a bit with some water or olive oil (works a treat). The balance though of rusk, tomato and feta cheese is just right. By the way, the Green Door guys know that the only oil that goes in salads is olive oil. Spare me any disagreements, olive oil is king.
The food is exactly right for what the Green Door guys want to do. This is hearty Greek food, they type that I have to cook for myself when I want to eat it. Or had (past tense) since now there is a place I can find it.
Special mention goes to the papoutsakia. (Even though I mention this as a Greek food, I do think there is a Turkish equivalent). This is stuffed eggplants and they take AGES to make. It’s one of those dishes where you are actually cooking three different foods and then combining them into one. Lovely but not for the faint hearted and not for weekday cooking either. The sauce on top was with wholegrain flour. This is not traditional but it was lovely. I would never have thought it but it did make for a great taste.
Btw the lovely Peter of Souvlaki for the Soul has a great recipe for papoutsakia – check it out. You will see why you need to know a place where you can find them cooked and ready.
The guys make their own ice-cream too, cinnamon being a firm favourite. They also serve vanilla with amazing fruit preserves drizzled on top (try the pistachio preserve. Seriously).
The menu changes every weekend so be sure to check out their Facebook page as they announce the upcoming weekend’s menu beforehand.
Other than the food, the Green Door is under development or rather under refurbishment. Dimitris and Sifis are working with what they have at the moment – I suspect because they couldn’t wait to get cooking and serving food. They have plans for changing things over the summer so the surroundings don’t look exactly right. Not that I am complaining considering some of the London restaurants I’ve been to, I just want to make clear that the place is about to change.
I know I usually don’t include prices (that’s what restaurants’ websites are for) but I think I should mention that their prices are fair. For the size of the portions they are probably a bit on the cheap side to tell the truth.
Final thought, which I know the Greek crowd will appreciate: They are open every morning and they serve frappe and freddo cappuccino. Yes, I know how hard it is to find those so thank me later.
Disclosure: We went to Green Door on 21 June 2014 and paid for our meal. They knew we were coming since this was an introduction by a friend but they did not see this post before publishing.
139 Whitfield Street
Tel. 0207387 6776