Good food can make or break a holiday.
The good experiences live long in the memory but are so rarely replicated when you’re back home.
A trip to Santorini for a friend’s wedding nine years ago was punctuated with the party’s obsession with gyros – the cheap and tasty, high-quality meat kebab much-loved by locals and holidaymakers alike.
In fact one guest was so taken with it, he managed to eat 10 of them in the seven-day break, which everyone agreed was exceptionally good going.
I left Santorini wondering whether I’d ever taste anything quite like it, outside the Greek Islands, again. Well, it’s taken a decade but it has finally happened.
Monastiraki Greek Wrap opened in Norbury a few months ago, with an Athens-born chef at the helm.
A casual dining option, with takeaway available, it may not be the place for leisurely dining, more of a hit-and-run joint.
The menu is simple, making this the perfect lunchtime pit stop. Like any authentic Greek menu, there’s a lot of feta cheese used, with half the starters showcasing this national crumbly cheese.
I love tzatziki – creamy yoghurt, cucumber and garlic dip – but assured it was used as a dressing on all the kebabs so decided to save myself and forgo it as a starter.
The pitta wraps offer up a choice of chicken, pork, sausage and vegan, and there’s an option for meat from the kebab on the revolving spit – the true gyros – or meat pieces cooked over charcoal.
All options are lean and healthy, using well-marinated meat, cooked in front of you. I went for the souvlakia chicken skewers – marinated in rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a wrap.
The wrap in question is pitta bread, but not as we know it in the UK – the real Greek stuff, flown in from Athens. We’re used to the oblong shaped bread, slit open and stuffed to the gunnels with filling.
However, Monastiraki’s pitta is soft and bouncy, half the squishiness of naan bread, folded into a conical shape before grilled pieces of chicken breast, salad, tzatziki, and the best bit, a few chips are added.
This may well not sound like the most sophisticated meal, but the combination is to die for. This is food from the Greek Gods, for sure. A winner of a lunch that’s high on taste and low on fat, while being extremely kind on the purse – just £5.50.
Whole portions of kebab skewers – pork and chicken – can be ordered for £8 and served with salad, tzatziki and fries, but the wrap is an ample portion.
What can non-meat eaters expect from their kebab – cabbage, carrot, olives and feta cheese – yum – or there are a number of salads to choose from. Greek salad, Ceasar, Crete of Farm salad, take your pick.
Paloma was not a guest of Monastiraki Greek Wrap, 1060 London Road