England, Europe and Middle East, London, Newsletter, Restaurant Reviews, United Kingdom

Vori Taverna. Discover the fabulous flavour of Greece in Holland Park.

18/04/2024 by .
Vori Taverna

Andy Mossack enjoys dinner at Vori Taverna, fast becoming a neighbourhood favourite.

Pop out of the tube at Holland Park and you emerge onto ‘Millionaire’s Row,’ one of London’s swankiest neighbourhoods. The vast white Victorian mansions opposite lay testimony to this leafy Kensington enclave as being the more princely section between the hipster Notting Hillbillies and the south Ken snobs.

Despite all this obvious neighbourly affluence, turning right from the station along Holland Park Avenue you stroll along a parade of eclectic local outlets from fancy fromageries and butchers to organic coffee shops and rustic eateries. Perched at the end of this fine line up lies Vori Taverna with its metaphorical arms spread wide open for a typical welcoming Greek hug.

Vori Taverna

Having just celebrated its first anniversary, Vori is the product of the Tsimikalis brothers, three siblings from the Cycladic Island of Andros, who first made their name in Spitalfields with Greek street food concept Hungry Donkey. Vori is quite different. Open for breakfast lunch and dinner, it’s a celebration of a taverna experience on their island home based around sharing plates and delivering food when ready. A process they describe as “served in waves,” drawing inspiration from the historic Tourlitis lighthouse still perched on a single rock off the coast of Andros town.

And Vori does have a homely feel to it. Very rustic taverna but with fancy touches that will no doubt appeal to its well-heeled neighbours opposite. Terracotta walls, ocean blue tones, racks of excellent Greek wines, grey slate tabletops, and striking large golden-hued metal light fittings “for our glorious island sunsets” Marcus Tsimikalis tells me.

So the stage is set for authentic Greek island fare. But does the delivery match the décor?

Vori Taverna (C) Andy Mossack Vori Taverna

We kick off with a few shared starters. Pasturmas (£6.50) waved up first, a Greek version of arancini perhaps? Three crispy croquette balls stuffed with ham sitting on a bed of delightfully spicy chilli tomato jam. Very moreish. Another wave brought us something from Santorini, a dish of fava (£7) mashed yellow split peas topped with a line of red onions. I spread it on some piping hot pita bread capped with oregano and make a silent toast to a memory of balmy Santorini nights in Fira.

I have to say I like this wave service. Munch and rest. Then repeat.

The melitzanosalata washed up next (£7.50). A very tempting roasted smoky aubergine sprinkled with marjoram, olive oil and some chopped red pepper. This proves equally satisfying with the pita, particularly washed down with a chilled glass of saviatano a very impressive white wine from one of the noblest of Hellenic grapes. Hot on the heels of the aubergine was our Greek salad (£15), or horiatiki as Vori calls it. Here’s the thing with Greek salad, even though the ingredients are the same, the taste is always different depending on the region or town. Maybe it’s the local feta? Whatever the reason it is always simple, crunchy and refreshing. The Vori version is, of course, the Andros Island variety. Another tick.

Vori Taverna

Vori Taverna

When it comes to the mains, there are shared grills and day boat catch options, but by now we are knee deep into small sharing plates and betting on which dish is about to float our way.

Greece’s famed souvlaki (£12) finds its way to our table next. A skewer of charcoal-grilled pork sprinkled with paprika, on a small bed of tzatziki and a chunk of lemon. All the meat at Vori is supplied by Lidgate’s the local butcher a few doors down, and the breads from St. John Bakery in London. Good to see support for independent suppliers, a much better option than waiting for regular supplies from Andros no doubt.

Our last three dishes arrive in triumphant succession.

A very generous portion of gigantes (£12). A personal favourite – giant baked Feneos butter beans from the Peloponnese in a delicious tomato sauce. They can come plain or with a grated mizithra cheese or meat from the pasturmas as a topping. I prefer them natural and untainted and finish the lot.

Vori Taverna Vori Taverna

Manitaria (£9.50) are beautifully grilled mushrooms cooked in petimezi grape syrup, with pine nuts and thyme. While kolokithokeftedes (£9.50) are deep fried courgette fritters with a feta and dill yoghurt.

This is all so simple yet delicious fare, and I can’t deny being seduced by the Vori vibe. Then again, a chunk of gastrin cake (£8) an early form of baklava made with layered walnuts, sesame, petimezi and tahini went a long way towards helping this love affair blossom.

With such well-heeled locals living opposite, I suspect there will be a lot of seduction coming their way if not already.

External shot and food images except Greek Salad and Souvlaki (C) Andy Mossack.

Tell me more about Vori Taverna in Holland Park

Vori Taverna, 120 Holland Park Avenue, W11 4UA

T: 020 3308 4271 bookings@vorigreekitchen.co.uk

Tuesday – Friday 08:30-17:00 and 18:00-22:00
Saturday & Sunday 09:00-17:00 and 18:00-22:00


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