HEAVEN AND HELLENISM

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The Independent Culture
Forgive Londoners for not realising it, but there's more to Greek cuisine than a tub of taramasalata, a mountain of charred meat, and the smashing of plates down Charlotte Street on a Saturday night. Despite its Greek Cypriot population, the capital can lay claim to barely a handful of restaurants where Hellenic cuisine is taken seriously. But from next Monday, culinary explorers have the chance to perform the gastronomic equivalent of Greek island-hopping at the Caf Mditerrane's Greek Food Festival. The caf, at Victoria's plush St James's Court Hotel, is to provide a lunchtime buffet (£15) and evening menu (£19.99) of regional delicacies cooked by chefs from the Elounda Mare hotel in Crete. Dishes such as bourdetto (a swordfish and paprika casserole from Corfu) and archanes (chicken breast with grapes, from Crete) should help to explode a few Greek-cooking myths. Live folk music, staff wearing traditional garb and a choice of Greek wines provide the accompaniment. Lob a saucer at your peril.

12.30-2.30pm Mon-Fri; 6.30-10.30pm Mon-Sat. 20 February-4 March. Caf Mditerrane, St James's Court Hotel, Buckingham Gate, SWI (071-834 6655)

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