Adelfia Greek Mediterranean Restaurant A Brighton Gem
‘We are what we do. Excellence, then is not an act, but a habit. ‘
Arisotle the ancient Greek philosopher must have been referring to the Afedakis family as I was about to discover……….
The air is cool and crisp and as we start to witness the sun burnt leaves falling to the ground, it is now time to say goodbye to this sensational summer and prepare for the winter ahead. However while our tan may fade, I have discovered that the sunny Mediterranean vibe does not have to disappear too!
In 2016 Brighton & Hove welcomed one of the city’s most authentic and exciting Greek restaurants, complete with monthly party nights set to have you dancing and laughing those cold winter nights away.
Adelfia, meaning brothers, is an easy-going and fun Greek restaurant that is full of love, life and tradition. George Afedakis has a passion for food and after a successful career he decided that the one special ingredient for happiness is to share the Afedakis love of good food and pass the torch on to his two sons Yiannis and Andreas. The family have since been giving back to the community with genuine Greek hospitality, secret family recipes and food that is prepared with love and served with joy.
Every morning George arrives in Preston street at 6:30 am to start cooking and preparing for the day ahead. The quiet kitchen in the morning is George’s special place, his utopia where he can lose himself in his cooking. The restaurant is open 7 days a week with every inch of Adelfia, as George would say, being ‘one billion percent authentic’ Almost all of the ingredients are imported from the motherland with only the fish and meat being locally sourced. The dedication is so genuine that twice a week two ingredients are flown directly from Greece making Adelfia the only establishment in the whole of the United Kingdom to have them on the menu!
Adelfia is proud to honour the blue and white flag that welcomes guests into the restaurant. The aim is to transfer love and authenticity through cooking and allowing guests to lose themselves in Greek tradition.
It is well-known that the Greek diet is one of the healthiest in the world. Recipes are based around vegetables, fruit and fish with proteins coming from beans, lentils and peas. The Greeks adore their Olive oil, but the only real naughtiness is in the cheese and yogurt. After a rather decadent summer I have been focused on eating a healthier diet, so it pleased me greatly that I was being sent along to this Greek haven to sample the healthy sumptuous food and on one of Adelfia’s famous monthly Greek entertainment nights.
Arriving straight from work, I was greeted with a warm smile and shot of raki. The Greek culture is all about family and friends coming together and this usually revolves around food and drink. As guests arrive it is tradition for all to take a drink or in my case a shot of raki as a welcome. I was glad to be the last to arrive as we had six on our table!
Every table in Adelifia was fully booked and as my night unfolded I was already planning to book for the following month, as I could see how popular this evening has become. It is rare to find a local restaurant that is globally inspired and has the ability to transport you from the streets of Brighton & Hove to the heart of Greece and all through an atmosphere that is bursting with the wonderful flavours and Mediterranean traditions.
Most Greek venues focus on the traditional Santorini blue and white colour scheme, but here after careful consideration the olive tree was the inspiration behind the chic and relaxed decor. Soft sage walls, dining room greenery and vines add to the pleasant ambiance, whilst strategically placed pottery and pictures whisk you away to the Mediterranean.
The owner George immediately introduced himself and produced a bottle of Greek white wine, something I had not yet tried. However, as George pointed out, Greece was the first nation to produce this nectar of the Gods over 6000 years ago and so they have certainly had time to perfect it. Appropriately named given I was having dinner with George Afedakis himself, Golden Legend a Moschofilero is an aromatic dry white wine, fruity and refreshing this opened my eyes to Greek wine and reviled my favourite Sauvignon Blanc.
The menu is extensive and covers every one of the well-known Greek dishes, including some added twists created by the family. There are 20 starters and surprisingly only two contain meat which, given the recent shift in the United Kingdom towards a more plant based diet, is thrilling to see and I was amazed by the in-depth selection available.
I asked George to order the most popular dishes with my request being the hand dived scallops in Garlic and brandy sauce and the traditional Greek sausage. A wonderful selection arrived with Kolokithakia, lightly battered courgettes and dolmadakia hand-made stuffed vine leaves. The colours were vibrant, aromas delicious and flavours so sumptuous that I lost control and found myself eating much more than I usually would for a starter. I love meze style eating with small portions and lots of choice. It is fantastic for bringing people together, sharing and trying a variety of textures and flavours.
I requested the number one dish for my main course; Kleftico or slow roasted lamb with potatoes lemon, olive oil and oregano. It is melt in your mouth, packing a punch with herbs and spices – the best I have ever tried! The Moussaka and Briam were equally tasty, fresh natural ingredients and substantial portions.
This is definitely the type of restaurant where you arrive unwind, relax and stay. I felt as though I was at a Greek banquet bursting with native flavour……..the best Greek food outside of Greece!
As the evening unfolded, the divine food continued to appear and the electric entertainment commenced, combining music with food & drink, in a lively happy atmosphere giving guests a real feel for this vibrant nation.
In between shots of raki I found myself leaping to my feet and shouting ‘OPA’ which I later discovered is a Greek expression used in celebration. Despite the generous portions and flowing drinks, be ready to dance, shout and join in all the action including the Greek conga line that continues into the busy street. The ambiance is like nowhere else. Bouzouki music plays while performers dance and balance drinks on their heads and just when you think the night is wrapping up, a large cloth is thrown across the floor and plates handed out for Greek plate smashing fun. Stress busting and liberating, I think I may try and slip this into my Irish/Canadian family traditions.
I asked George about the monthly Greek nights and he said his aim is “To bring the Greek weather to Brighon & Hove with warm hospitality and a hot smile!” The Afedakis combination of charm and passion is contagious and it is hard not to fall in love with this family run business. There is a loyal fan base and with Christmas & New year bookings already being taken you must be fast to join in the celebrations.
Whether you pop in for a little snack at lunch, indulge in a leisurley evening or simply want to dance and sing I can assure you that this family will welcome you in as one of their own and spoil you with true Greek hospitality.