You could call Greek food many things, but rarely is it ever complicated. Greek cuisine is laid-back. You won’t find many references to jus or specialist cooking apparatus. Fork, farm and fishing rod provide fodder for the oven or grill, and a smattering of herbs, flatbreads and sauces do the rest at this Greek restaurant in Aldgate East.
It’s precisely this time-honoured prandial simplicity which often feels missing from London’s dining scene. Restaurants fall over themselves to find the latest gourmet trend, but few keep to perfect simple, traditional taverna-style food.
The Hungry Donkey, a breezy modern Greek restaurant just off Commercial Street, is actually a pretty simple place. Excellent pork, chicken and lamb, each sourced directly from named Hellenic suppliers or from award-winning, queue-spawning butchers Aubrey Allen, is marinated and grilled, served on skewers or on a feasting plate. Other treats, such as the moussaka or the fasolakia, are rustic throwbacks to the peasant food of the Greeks. It’s a menu with little need of extrapolation, where even if you don’t recognise the names you’ll have no trouble understanding their appeal.
Greek Restaurant in Aldgate East – Hungry Donkey
With the old-fashioned Greek taverna decor firmly rejected, The Hungry Donkey have plumped for a sharp, almost industrial look. Wire mesh criss-crosses the floor-to-ceiling windows. Trunk-like pipes traverse the ceiling in a knot of black and grey. Functional wooden tables are bracketed by blue-cushioned benches. It’s smart and chirpy, but a touch too self-conscious, a deliberate contradiction of a standard dining setting. On the other hand, there’s plenty of natural light and a lovely team of waiting staff, both of which go a long way to warming this Greek Restaurant in Aldgate East up.