With an understated colour scheme of inky blues, fluted stone columns inside and an exterior covered in graffiti, new Athenian eatery Suvlaki is a far cry from the traditional taverna.
Suvlaki ‘Gone are the days of bouzouki dancing and plate smashing,’ says Afroditi Krassa, Suvlaki’s London-based Greek interior designer. ‘Greece is currently presenting itself as one of the creative powerhouses of Europe and our interior design studio is picking up on this energy: the project is raw, witty and idiosyncratic.’ The restaurant seats 34 diners at long communal tables, and patrons watch chefs cook signature suvlaki skewers over the hot grill. As well as furniture and accessories sourced in Greece, the space is decorated with a number of designs from Krassa’s own collection, including ‘Pentagon’ pendant lights and striking monochrome ‘Piano’ tiles. (21 Bateman St, London W1)
Anyone with an eye for Scandi design and a tooth for Danish delicacies should make a beeline for this delightfully low-key cafe/shop in a former hairdressing salon in London’s Notting Hill.
Snaps & Rye The brainchild of Husband-and-wife team Kell and Jacqueline Skött, think home-pickled beetroot, Iskilde bottled water from the Danish Lake Highlands and Smørrebrød, open sandwiches of dense, dark rye bread garnished with any number of colourful, leafy toppings. There’s also a library of Danish books, minimalist crockery by designer Anne Black and charming mobiles by Flensted.
The best thing on the menu? According to Kell: “It has to be Tebirkes. This famous Danish pastry is Copenhagen’s answer to croissants – only better!” Jacqueline: “I’d recommend Rullepølse, an organic pork that takes 48 hours to cure, then 48 hours to press in a special contraption that we bought back from Denmark. It’s served on our homemade rye bread, which is made to a recipe that Kell has been developing to perfection over the past 18 months.” (93 Golborne Road, London, W10)
From legendary restaurateur Alan Yau, Duck & Rice brings together two very British establishments – the Victorian pub and the Chinese restaurant.
Duck & Rice has a facade of stained-glass windows arranged Art Deco-style, but inside you’re greeted by huge copper beer vats that reflect the venue’s long history as a pub, and blue-and-white willow-patterned wall panels that allude to the restaurant’s Asian menu. The main dining room is upstairs, accessible by a spiral staircase. The extensive menu features everything from decadent crispy duck and a whole Cantonese lobster to dim sum, chow mein and chop suey. (90 Berwick Street, London W1)
Reclaimed timbers, English hardwoods and clay-based paints characterise the eco-inspired interior of Poco, a sustainability-focused tapas bar in London’s Broadway Market.
Poco Set up by chef and food-waste activist Tom Hunt, Poco has a seasonal menu, zero waste (Hunt is committed to paying for all the restaurant’s leftovers to be composted and recycled) and the chefs in the kitchen follow his ‘root to fruit’ cooking philosophy. ‘It’s a step on from nose-to-tail, which focuses on meat; this is about cooking with thrift, so complete consumption of all produce, including vegetables,’ he says. ‘Being eco is in the DNA of this business. People, the planet and profit are the triple bottom line and all are equally important.’ Tom, is also founder of Forgotten Feast, a Social Enterprise working on projects throughout the UK to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste. 129 Pritchard’s Rd, London, E2 9AP. Telephone: 020 7739 3042 Poco
Keen on French fancies but not got a trip to Paris planned? Head to one of these three to pick up bread, eclairs and cronuts
Maison Kayser Eric Kayser, the bread-making maestro, has more than 100 bakeries across the world, and now he’s finally touched down in Marylebone. Pick up a traditional Monge baguette or chickpea and buckwheat loaf (Portman Square 6AZ, 8 Baker St, London W1).
Maitre Choux Lucky London: the world’s first and only choux pastry specialist patisserie recently set up shop in Soho. Michelein-starred chef Joakim Prat rustles up extraordinarily delicate and technicoloured eclairs, choux and chouqettes – profiterole-style choux orbs sprinkled with pearl sugar (15 Harrington Rd, London SW7).
Dominique Ansel The French-born, New York-based brains behind the controversial half-croissant, half-donut confection Dominique Ansel, has turned up in Belgravia in a light, bright bakery-café with an open kitchen where you can watch the pastry magic happen (17-21 Elizabeth Street, London SW1).
Can’t get to visit any of the above? Cookbook help is at hand! Patisserie Maison (Ebury Press, £20) features recipes for delectable French tarts, mousses and pastries. Author and expert baker Richard Bertinet shows how even novice cooks can make these traditional delights in a standard kitchen, and only a few recipes require specific pieces of kit. Plus, there are in-depth tutorials that cover all the basics, from making choux pastry and genoise sponge to piping creams.