Until recently, I’m pretty sure most of my experiences of Greek food in Birmingham involved stepping over the broken crockery on the way to the old Snobs or parties at my Greek-Cypriot school friend’s house. But having travelled all night, I landed back in Brum to check out the relatively new Treat Greek Deli, only to be offered a cup of thick, dark sludgy, traditional Greek coffee, which was akin to heaven.
I’ve drunk a lot of coffee over the years, but never the Greek version. It’s boiled in a special pot (a briki, if I’m remembering correctly, but I was pretty sleep deprived), and produces a strong brew, which when served has an almost foam on top…and I was warned not to drink the whole cup as the grounds in the bottom of the cup. You know sometimes people refer to strong coffee as being a bit like rocket fuel, yep, it’s like that, only deliciously so.
Coffee isn’t the only thing the family-run Greek deli located in the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham city centre sells. They’re aiming to bring an authentic style Greek food to the city, with traditional Greek pies and pasties, salads, healthy smoothies, Greek yogurt and coffees. The deli itself is a lovely bright, airy space and has a couple of tables outside, which is prime people watching space particularly on a weekday lunchtime. The staff are lovely and friendly, although everyone we met seemed to be called George.
I’d headed down with Roz and we were treated to a sample of their savoury products; traditional cheese and spinach pies, gyros with chicken, pizzarela and a Greek salad sandwich. Both of the pies were made with handmade olive oil filo pastry, which was lovely and crisp and the fillings both equally tasty. Actually everything was lovely, fresh and felt healthy…well as healthy as filo pastry can do.
We also tried a pumpkin pie which straddled the sweet and savoury bridge. With the autumn/winter seasons firmly in place and everyone going nuts for pumpkin spiced lattes, this was a much less sickly sweet variety, made with organic Greek pumpkin. The final treat was Bugatsa, a Greek breakfast pastry made of handmade olive oil filo pastry with milk, fine semolina and vanilla cream. It comes dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon and if you pop in for one of an afternoon, which I did a couple of weeks later, they’ll chop it into bite size pieces for you. You’ll also convince yourself that you won’t eat the whole thing, but you’ll fail (or maybe that’s just me).
Disclosure: I was invited to Treat to try their products and have a chat with the chef-owner. I wasn’t obliged to write anything. And I wasn’t obliged to return a few weeks later to buy a portion of Bugasta instead of lunch one day, but it’s a hard life.