Mathematics; classical art; democratic governance; street food … the Greeks have been showing the world how it’s done for yonks. Their suvlaki — grilled meats and vegetables cooked on a skewer served with an optional wrap — may not be the Greeks’ most important contribution to civilisation, but it’s right up there with the tastiest. The dish is quick to prepare and very healthy — a key consideration in ancient times when prospective customers were surrounded on all sides by chiselled statuary of muscular gods and slender goddesses, making mere mortals look decidedly ordinary, and spectator sports were done in the nude.
With street food currently enjoying an upsurge in popularity, the time is right for suvlaki to take on the challenge of established fast food heroes such as the mighty burger. Soho restaurant Suvlaki, on Bateman Street, has embraced the trend for moving street food indoors; London-based Greek designer Afroditi Krassa has called on an Athenian tradition — satirical graffiti — to give her design an urban edge that steers well clear of the dated Greek taverna look. Blue is the colour outside and in, ranging from dark inky shades to turquoise reminiscent of the sea lapping at the shore of a Greek island. Of course it wouldn’t be Greece without some stone columns, and here a series of salvaged sections line the long wall. Many of the fixtures and fittings come from Krassa’s own AKollection.