Much will be made of the two managers for the Chelsea Arsenal clash (kick-off at 1.30pm– both under fire from their respective supporters and yet both, just about, keeping their respective teams in the hunt for a top four finish and Champions League qualification. Arsenal’s Wenger loses his best players each summer and manages the club on a budget, but it’s the seven-and-a-half trophyless years that are upsetting the fans. Rafael Benitez is unpopular because, well, just ask your nearest Chelsea devotee. Apart from last season’s amazing 5-3 win for Arsenal, the Blues have enjoyed a good spell against their rivals and have already won the reverse earlier this term. Expect a cagey affair with Carzola, Mata and Hazard drawing regular gasps of amazement from the crowd in a game neither team can afford to lose. If there’s a silver lining, Manchester United play Spurs later at 4pm and one or both will be dropping points there too.
Meraki takes the sun-drenched flavours you might find on an island in the Aegean and serves them to businessmen in Fitzrovia. The transition is seamless. Solicitous Mediterranean staff welcomed me at the door of this smart spacious restaurant on Great Titchfield Street, took my coat and sat me between two sets of suited Americans striking deals. From my little blondewood table I could spy into the gleaming open kitchen and anticipate all the light, Grecian flavours I would soon be consuming in luxury. It felt nice. I started with cold mezze – here, they bring you a platter of dips to choose from on a lovely wooden tray (it’s a nice touch). Barrel-aged feta was insanely good, served with chilli pitta crispbreads and sprinkled with a little red ‘secret’ dust that tasted a bit like dukkah, but more seductively sour. A deconstructed spanakopita was less impressive: basically just creamed spinach with more crispbread. This was an example of a trad dish that shouldn’t have been fiddled with. Of the larger plates, the absolute highlight was a salad of young samphire topped with warm manouri cheese and drizzled with lemony butter. Prawn ceviche, too, was wonderfully fresh, but over-salted (other disappointments included some wildly over-battered courgette fritters). Meraki is at its best when it keeps things simple. Like that aged feta dip. I can’t stop thinking about that dip.
Venue says: “In Greece Sundays are for family. Honouring this tradition, we're now open on Sunday.. with special dishes & a kids menu for the little ones”