Hungry Donkey is a pleasure in every way. Operating out of a lovely, light-filled and high-ceilinged space just off Petticoat Lane market, it describes itself as being influenced by Athenian street food; and it does away with pomp and ceremony in décor, service and food.
It’s totally up to date in its buying policies. (Buying is the word used in the restaurant biz before everyone decided that ‘sourcing’ sounded grander.) Several products are organic, or even (the olives) biodynamic; rare-breed meat features on the menu; the wines are from small producers (all Greek).
The food on our visit was mixed. We had some fine starters, especially the dish called pan-fried saganaki cheese (made with organic graviera cheese), and courgette fritters, a hefty few mouthfuls crisply fried (both £6). Main dishes of wraps and larger ‘smashing plates’ featured good ingredients, though some seasonings could have been sharpened up a little. But we forgave everything when they brought us two desserts, a galaktoboureko, that gloriously gooey custard and phyllo concoction (£5), and a stunningly good chestnut and chocolate cake (no longer on the menu). The perfect closers: Greek coffee or fresh mint tea.
With Commercial Street an olive pit’s throw away, not to mention the market and the myriad office workers nearby, this donkey has an enviable catchment area for its wares. It deserves to sell them in large quantities. Just don’t bray on your way out – leave that to the City traders.