What is souvlaki, you ask? Simple – it’s Greek dishes that comprise pieces of meat and vegetables on a skewer. Luckily, Belgravia is now home to experts in all things souvlaki. The Athenian is on Elizabeth Street and is run by Efthymios and Neofytos, who were born and raised in Athens and Cyprus. Their latest venture in Belgravia adds to their already impressive string of souvlaki restaurants in London, which has flourished since beginning as a small street food stall in 2014.
What do customers love about your souvlaki menu?
We hope that our customers enjoy the freshness and taste of every item on the menu, but we know that they love the ingredients that are imported from small producers in Greece. We tried to keep our menu simple – simplicity is our philosophy. Our best-selling item is the chicken and halloumi souvlaki. It’s delicious.
What are your favourite items on the menu?
Our personal favourites have got to be the dakos salad, the chicken gyros and the lamb and beef burger.
How quickly did you go from your street food stall to opening your first permanent location?
Our first street food stall opened at the end of 2014 in Haringey market. After being involved with a few more street food markets, we settled at our first permanent location in the Artworks at Elephant & Castle in the spring of 2016.
Why is the food that you offer so special to you?
When we first moved to London, we were disappointed that no one served the authentic and delicious Greek food that we enjoyed eating back in Greece. That’s how the Athenian started; we wanted to serve delicious Greek food but with an updated and image.
What kind of people work at The Athenian?
In the beginning, the team was small. After opening our first couple of permanent sites, we realised that we needed to expand the team – so we went out on the look out for smart, creative people who shared our vision. The team has grown significantly and we are happy to see some of our very first employees are now in senior positions with us.
Do you have plans to open any other sites in London?
We are always in the lookout for more sites so we can serve our Athenian souvlaki to more and more people, but it has to feel right. We are looking to open another new restaurant later this year.
Why did you choose Belgravia as your new location?
With improvements going on in the area as part of Grosvenor’s 20-year vision, we couldn’t think of a better place to bring our souvlaki!
Lastly, where in Belgravia do you like to visit when you’re not working?
One of our favourite places has got to be The Thomas Cubitt just down the road on Elizabeth Street. We love it there.