Isle of olive in between Greece and London
Polina Fillipou is a psychologist, and Gregory Vaitsas is a physicist. They are both coming from the capital of Greece, but they have been in London since the beginnings of their studies, 20 years ago. Polina and Gregory had met in London for the first time, and have been living together since then. A while ago had born their son Jason who is 1,5 years old. They had been working each one to their domain for years, but somehow they had the will to create something else which would brought them in connection with Greece, and that would have scent and tastes of Greece. “We have been constantly related with greek gastronomy but one day we had the will to feature all that abroad. That’s how the whole story began”, Polina and Gregory said to the HumanStories.
Their gastronomic point of their trip had been Greece. Polina and Gregory love to cook, to eat, to discover elements, recipes, fresh tastes. They had been amazed by the avant-garde greek dishes, and decided that they could brought Greece to London through this gastronomic trip. That is the Isle of Olive.
“Olive is in the heart of the Greek or the Mediterranean gastronomy. In our restaurant olive oil and olive grapes are the main and the most precious products. So, we would like that to be reflected to our trademark. We figured “Isle of Olive” which sounds lovely and reflects the idea of creating an isle for Greek tastes into the city of London.”
“As we were travelling across Greece we’ve been always amazed from the secrets of tastes we were nosing out, and we wanted to bring them with us back to London. We could say that we’ve noticed a renaissance happening at the countryside of Greece, especially at the primordial domain and the invention of totally new products which could go for foreign trade. We knew that all those products were out of London’s trade. That had given us the starting point of rising Isle of Olive.
Isle of Olive is a very special space. There you could find everything from olive to Greek chocolate. The scenery reminds Greek movies. It is the grocery of the neighborhood which has a small cafeteria by tiny gourmet dishes. The kind of communication between the customers and the chefs gives different aspects. “
We’ve tried to give contemporary esthetic to our business according to our own sense of esthetics. Conclusively it has something of classical Greek movie. Probably, that have been a unconstrained flow from us to our business. Customers are interested about both the esthetic and the services. Usually, customers focus in a panel which it looks like post boxes springing up oregano, thyme, sage, mountain tea and other greek herbs. This wakes up their senses of vision and smell, reminds Greek countryside, but all the rest is our business.”, said Polina and Gregory in a proud manner.
Many of the dishes they serve are made of products they sale. Customers are able to recognize the qualitative food and are interested for Greek products of “Isle of Olive”. Polina and Gregory organize tastings to move forward the whole business. Customers train themselves to gastronomy, they learn more about the products and their origins. “It is very basic part of our business and it is appreciated” Polina said, and added: “Tasting is very special and we count a lot at that . These tasting events are often and they are organized from invited chefs from Greece or the Mediterranean. The tastings of Greek wines with Greek variety dishes are also very famous and accompanied by positive comments.”.
How do they come in touch with the producers?
“In many ways. We’ve come with many producers in contact through our visits in exhibitions and surveys, but other producers have choosen us, by themselves.
At the Isle of Olive Greece is all over the space, and shares smiles, wisdom, tastes, smells, but first of all nice moments. “Our restaurant is a place we have construct with loving care and “meraki” (it means in greek sth made of consious extra care). It reflects the loving care for the Greece we have kept in our hearts and we hope that this contains some of Greece’s best elements, and these are all we share with people here in London.”.