5 minutes with…Theodore Kyriakou, The Greek Larder

He originally studied to become a captain in the navy. We meet a chef with a long history in London restaurants

Chef Theodore Kyriakou. Photo: GL
Chef Theodore Kyriakou. Photo: GL
How did you start out?
My father was an Athenian food store owner and my mother an excellent cook. Both were entertainers around the table. I originally studied to become a captain in the Greek merchant navy, but after ten years at sea, my thoughts and emotions turned to cooking.

What was so influential about your first restaurant, The Real Greek?
The original fired up the Hellenic engine in London and welcomed new Greek chefs and restaurateurs. That was back in 1999 – and we ran it till 2007.

Greek seems to be the “new” hip cuisine with a rash of openings in the capital. Why is that?
I guess Londoners have realised that there is much more to it than ‘pink-ill-looking taramosalata’. It’s a good thing.

Stylish interior. Photo: PR
Stylish interior. Photo: PR

What chefs do you admire and why?
Anyone with passion behind the stove. If you don’t have that it’s very hard to get anywhere. Cooking without passion, it almost feels like a wedding without games!


Amazing octopus. Photo: SE
Amazing octopus. Photo: SE
Er, quite. So what’s the concept with Greek Larder?
It’s an all-day restaurant, delicatessen and Greek wine/beer cellar. It’s open 8am-10.30pm. We don’t have a signature dish as we change the menu a lot, not just with the seasons, but with our caprice. So there’ll always be something new to try.

How’s it going?
Nine months since we opened and my limbs are not misbehaving too badly – so I guess well.

What would you recommend readers try?
Breakfast. It has a uniqueness you won’t find anywhere else in King’s Cross; it’s far from the usual fare. For instance,we don’t offer bacon but we do have sweet and savoury filo pies made with manouri cheese, thyme, honey and cinnamon.

Finally, are you planning to roll the Greek Larder out to other areas?
No: limitation is a good thing too.

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OUR TIP? Sunday lunch

Smoked grilled lamb chops. Photo: SE
Smoked grilled lamb chops. Photo: SE
The set course Sunday menu is a reasonable £25 for three filling courses – and unlike Caravan or Grain Store, it’s a far more relaxed affair, perfect if you’re feeling a bit delicate after the night before. On a recent, very lesiurely visit we tucked into superior meze, including tender octopus and fava (a yellow split pea puree) and a fascinating, attractively presented dish of smoked eel with juicy ripe peaches and bitter green peppers.

Mains were a sharper take on a classic roast Sunday lunch than you’d find at many nearby N1 gastropubs, with the smoked grilled lamb chops – pink and pillowy – the winner over a decent smoked pork. To finish? A whole host of sticky and sweet options – from baklava to cheesecake – but we opted for a couple of slices of Greek cheese instead, to accompany another sneaky carafe of full-bodied Peloponnese red. Stephen Emms

Find The Greek Larder ArtHouse, 1 York Way, London N1C 4AS. It’s open daily until 1030 pm.

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