Step into this Greek-run, hipster-friendly café and you can’t help but feel that they’re missing a trick. Yes, yes: they’ve done a great job of working their way down the checklist of Tropes You Must Fulfill If You Serve Artisanal Coffee (exposed copper piping everywhere, lightbulbs fitted into dangling jam jars, product range so Fairtrade that even their ginger ale’s packaging shouts: ‘TASTE THE JUSTICE’). Sure: their coffee is phenomenal (shotgun strength greek kafé brewed up in electronic versions of the traditional briki pot for which the venue’s named). Granted, they do a range of solid – if not particularly accomplished – snack fare (Vast wedges of feta-filled pastry, a cutesy range of cakes, salad selection including oily little dolmades and shallot-filled horiatiki).
But you know where they’ve gone wrong? Not attempting to brand it as an ‘immersive cultural experience’. Here’s why.
On our Saturday afternoon visit, there were more Hellenics inside than there are jobs in Athens. The way they dallied for hours, natteringly expressively over coffees, was a slice of Athenian life by way of Exmouth Market. Tables are so tightly packed that the mere act of parking your bum would make you feel you’ve been accepted into a jabbering colony of Greeks. This isn’t just a café: it’s an out-of-London experience.
Sadly, it’s also one in which you can wait 30 minutes for a seat (damn those attractive Mediterraneans and their long, lingering conversations). So you may just want to get takeaway coffee rather than try to converse with your densely-packed neighbours. Chances are it’ll be all Greek to you anyway.