What’s the vibe
From the outside in, Suvlaki’s second site seems almost out of place. The ornate wrought-iron railings on the windows and heavily stylised exterior stand as a stark contrast to the florescent lights of its neighbour, the Brick Lane institution that is Beigel Bake. But step inside and you’ll forget you’re even in Shoreditch: fractured stone tiles climb the slate blue walls, and hanging Edison bulbs cast a soft glow over faux-distressed old posters and black marble tables. Throw in the Greek key flooring and the aesthetic becomes akin to a prop house from the neoclassical-obsessed Hollywood of the 1950s.
What to drink
The list is compact and hyper-focused, featuring Greek microbrews and wines from the Kokotos estate just north of Athens and beyond. Our peachy 2016 Mantina – with its sweet orange notes and medium acidity – from the Domaine Spiropoulos winery is a definite must-try if you order the spicy, dill-laced prawn suvlaki. Oh, and don’t forget to round off your feast with the inevitable shot of Mastiha (a brandy liqueur from the island of Chios) that comes with dessert. It’d be rude not to after all.
What to eat
Suvlaki is all about small, reasonably priced meze plates, so if you’re anything like us, you’re probably going to take down at least half the menu in one sitting. The moreish feta and prawn saganaki, grilled mastelo cheese nibbles wrapped in floury pita and drizzled with fig marmalade, and Greek meatballs in rich tomato sauce are as delicious as they sound. But if you really want to get acquainted with modern Athenian flavours, sink your teeth into the smoky ‘Mount Olympus’ wild boar suvlaki and charred veggie wrap (served with rose aioli and a bursts of pomegranate). The powerful hit of oregano and lingering smell of charcoal will transport you straight to the Attican hills.
Small plates from £4.5; wine from £5 by the glass. 161 Brick Lane, E1 6SB; suvlaki.co.uk