Souvlaki - the Greek word used to describe grilled fast-food dishes, usually kebabs, and essentially meaning 'skewers'. We headed down to try out Soho's modern, Athenian venture on this theme - the street-food inspired creation of Yannis Theodorakakos and chef Elias Mamalakis, Suvlaki.
The bright lights of Suvlaki spill out through the windows and door-frame of this pint-sized, cobalt blue and graffiti-adorned restaurant onto the street outside, drawing you in to the warmth and life inside.
Original, authentic Grecian pillars line one length of this tiny restaurant and are really quite stunning. Look up and you will see mirrored panelling running the length of the ceiling and hanging, over-sized bulbs brightening up the warmth-filled space. Fun catchphrases and messages are scribbled across the walls in a mixture of Greek and English alphabet as well, and the marble and wood effect tables are packed in tightly along the turquoise, cushioned benches on the side. The overall effect is charming, creating a family-run, authentic Greek feel, brimming with warmth and positive vibes.
The Food and Drink
We began with the Cheese Nibbles (£3.50) - pure grilled cheese and figgy goodness in a bite, and the Grilled Country Sausages (£3.50) - a taster of what Suvlaki excels at; simple Athenian fare cooked over an authentic charcoal grill. The four Greek wines on offer are carefully selected and come in at around £22 a bottle, plus there is an interesting selection of beers sourced from Greek micro-breweries. The food itself is also all well-sourced, with the produce coming from a range of small British farms or else imported from Greece. For example, the Wild Boar Sausage, which we tried in their skewer form (£11 for three), comes from a farm located on Mount Olympus itself.
The Suvlaki Exuberence (£34) is a good deal if you are struggling to decide between the many mouth-watering, meaty options on the menu, and involves two of the Suvlaki burgers, a choice of skewers and mini wraps, as well as four sides, to share between two. All the meat is pretty much grilled to perfection and the burgers, incredibly juicy and stuffed with feta, are delicious. The sides are also a strong addition to the menu, and include moreish oregano sprinkled chips, a warm potato salad with capers and spring onion, and crumbly baked feta. We were treated to the definitely naughty Chocolate Biscuit Cake (£5) to finish, served with homemade coffee ice cream.
Great old jazz classics and a world music playlist tinker away in the background, floating over the pleasant hum of chatter filling this popular Soho joint. The team at Suvlaki are friendly and welcoming, and judging by the steady flow of customers into the restaurant on a Monday evening in late September, already have a pretty good following. Suvlaki has a busy, Mediterranean feel running throughout and positive vibes a plenty. The happy, buzzy atmosphere makes it a great place to chill out for the evening with friends and sit enjoy good food over a few glasses of wine.
A wonderful addition to Soho's restaurant scene, Suvlaki dishes up excellent yet simple dishes of flavoursome, uncomplicated cooking that is perfect for sharing, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.