Tell us about Hungry Donkey, what did inspire you to start it?
Hungry Donkey is a modern and cool Greek restaurant, serving Greek street food, free-range spit-roasted meats and traditional Greek dishes. There was always the feeling that Greek food was not properly represented in London despite this great city being arguably the culinary capital of the world. On the Greek food front, out-dated Greek restaurants which have failed over the decades to modernise their interiors or menus on the one hand and higher-end Greek restaurants engaging in a creative interpretation of Greek food on the other hand seemed to prevail. Hungry Donkey aims to fill the space in between, offering traditional Greek food (just as you remember it from your holiday to Greece) in a hip and modern surrounding.
What is unique about your restaurant?
Apart from our niche menu, I would say that our drinks menu in particular is innovative and unique. Our wine list is 100% focused on Greek grape varieties. We are extremely proud and excited to promote these Greek wines which we think are very up and coming. We only offer craft beer from microbreweries in London and Greece, and we have also created a unique cocktail menu that only uses Greek spirits such as Tsipouro, Mastiha and Ouzo. Then, of course, we have the traditional well-knowns like Ouzo, Tsipouro & Cretan Tsikoudia and Rakomelo, which is Tsipouro boiled with honey and various spices, for the stout-hearted.
How do you select the menu for the restaurant?
Our menu is centered around our spit-roasting capability (souvla), which showcases the tastiness of grilled meat cooked with Greek herbs and flavours. In keeping with traditional Greek cuisines, our menu has a huge array of vegetarian options including Greek salad, Horta (boiled greens with lemon juice), an assortment of traditional dips (like Tzatziki and Melitzanosalata) and as our chef is vegan he has even created a few vegan gems like our vegetarian skewers with a special vegan sauce and vegan, wheat-free chocolate brownie for dessert! In short, our menu caters for all which is just what we wanted!
What is your signature dish that everyone has to try?
Our pita wraps are definitely something you need to try; this is quintessential Greek food at its best. Our spit-roasted “souvla” platters are also a must try and work well for large groups as they can be ordered by the kilogram to share.
Why did you choose Shoreditch/East London for the new restaurant?
East London is very cosmopolitan and full of a vibrant crowd that is constantly inquisitive about new things and ideas. We thought this was the best place to offer our food and market Greek culture, food and hospitality.
What would you say has been the most memorable experience while developing this business?
In general the constant interaction with people, their feedback and how quickly we have been
embraced and welcomed by the surrounding community. It’s great to be part of East London and to help promote Greek food and culture in this vibrant neighbourhood.
What are your future plans?
We would like to grow eventually, but are in no haste to expand. We are focused on developing and refining our menu and food offering and taking over East London for now.