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It was a baking hot afternoon which reminded us vividly of summer holidays in the little Greek village of Kefalos, Kos when we were lucky enough to try the food from Tim & Neo from the Athenian.
The first thing I remember was the strong smell of oregano, garlic and citrus wafting from the Athenian's spot at Boxpark Shoreditch. As punters filled Boxpark's benches we spent time filling our bellies with a chicken gyros followed by a halloumi souvlaki second.
There are four sensations I look for when I eat: taste, smell, texture and memories. When food is that good it causes your taste buds to stimulate your brain to a memory you treasure fondly. That's you know you're in a good hands.
For us, that memory is sitting on a beach in Greece, after a day's windsurfing, sipping Mythos beers and Ouzo. And that's exactly what The Athenian did. The most amazing homemade pita bread, slathered in tzatziki, punchy red onions and tomatoes that actually taste of.... tomatoes. Finished up top with chips, oregano and salt and pepper.
If you haven't been to Greece – go, and if you have, you'll know exactly what we mean.
After feeling a little full from the first one, Neo and Tim said I had to try the Athenian's halloumi souvlaki. And I'm super glad they did. I wouldn't normally go for this as I'm a stickler for my favourites – Gyros and Mythos, but with Halloumi from Messina, South West Greece I had to dive in. Halloumi can sometimes be too salty but with the Athenian's secret sauce (can we have some please?), it was a perfect balance.
Soft, proper pita bread again, citrus, oregano and the Halloumi. This was a journey we'll be making again more than once.