The citizens of Thessaloniki and the surrounding areas have coined the phrase “There is nothing like Chalkidiki“ and they throw it around every time anyone talks about any holiday destination. One of my best friends insists: “I’ve been everywhere. I’ve even been to Cuba. There is nothing like Chalkidiki“. You realise that they are a bit sensitive about the place.
There we were, last day of the holidays and a quick visit to Thessaloniki was compulsory.
Now, you might have heard of the name Salonica but I dislike calling it that. The Greek name is Thessaloniki (it has a meaning . Salonica does not).
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 suspected I would like Gelupo cause I had tried their ice cream for dessert when we went to Bocca di Lupo (here’s my post on that one). What I had at Bocca di Lupo was so yummy that I really wanted to try more flavours. So, on an appropriately rainy day (if we let a bit of rain stop us we’d never do anything in London) I went to Gelupo with a mate.
I have been living in London for 12 years so far and have been looking for a Greek restaurant with food that actually feels Greek. Sure, there is ‘pretend’ Greek, in the same way, I imagine, that there is ‘pretend’ Italian and ‘pretend’ Chinese – i.e. the British market’s interpretation of those national cuisines. Not always a bad thing but being Greek the situation with Greek restaurants irks me.
Les Deux Salons is one of those restaurants that are very decent. It does not boast heart-stopping food, the service is so and so but overall the experience is good – if a little bit on the expensive side.
Apparently it is the third venture from Michelin–starred duo Anthony Demetre and Will Smith – which to me doesn’t mean a lot but I’m adding it to the post just in case anyone is impressed by the names rather than the actual venue and food.
I used to drive through Green Lanes each morning on my trusty scooter (I like to live dangerously). Going past Gökyüzü I did notice that it was full e v e r y s i n g l e time. It was getting ridiculous. I found out why when I visited first time. Excellent meat, expertly grilled, with generous portions and good prices. A few months back they opened Gökyüzü & Kervan in Wood Green – closer to where I live and still great.
I have said time and again that I hate it that so many restaurants don’t take bookings. You either sit people in 5 minutes or if you can’t, then for the love of all that is holly, take bookings. So, when a chef friend took me to Franco Manca (Tottenham Court Road branch) and I saw the queue he had to hold me in place by force. OK, I’m exaggerating, he promised me that I would not regret it. And I didn’t. Franco Manca is one of the very very very few places where I am happy to wait.
There is something that is an absolute priority for me when I visit any place. Courtesy. I don’t care how amazing your food is, how excellent your decoration, how many snooty Chelsea – bred people you’ve got sitting around, you are in the service industry/ hospitality sector and you will piss me off if you are rude. This is where the Radio rooftop bar failed spectacularly. This is where Bocca di Lupo wins an epic victory.
It was the Italian Saturday. We had been to The Glamour of Italian Fashion and we were about to die of hunger.
I had heard really good things about an Italian around Soho but seeing how it was all booked (pre-theatre dinner anyone?) we decided to try somewhere else. Browsing on my phone I remembered having read nice things about Polpetto (couldn’t remember what things) and so we headed that way.