Smashing it: The founder of a brand new string of on-the-go Greek restaurants shares some of his favourite things.

If you haven’t heard of Smashing Plates yet, stand by because all that is set to change. Early in the summer, its founder, Neofytos Christodoulou, opened the doors to the first of his casual on-the-go restaurants, a super-fresh, lively and unorthodox take on the Greek and Cypriot street food classics he grew up with. Already, there are four more sites across London, with more in the planning, as well as takeaways in Reading and Cambridge. Not bad for six months work. Featuring gyros and pitta, the onus is on simplicity; fresh, traceable and responsibly sourced ingredients; sustainability; and a hearty helping of fun.

Neo’s path into the world of fast-expanding restaurants has been as unorthodox as the food he promises to serve. Having grown up in Limassol, Cyprus, he got place to study at Cambridge and, after graduating, went on to work for one of the major British banks. In the wake of the recession, his years there coincided with austerity measures, at the hands of which Greece was ailing notably more than her European counterparts. Disillusioned and unwilling to exist on a diet of all-nighters in glass towers, he began to look for a way out. So when a friend suggested volunteering with an NGO in Africa, it piqued Neo’s interest; he ended up in Sierra Leone, before continuing to Liberia, the Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, and Ghana on a five-month programme to give something back.

Invigorated after his return, Neo began to consider his next step. Noticing that London was in the midst of a street food revolution with an onus on authentic cuisine from all over the world, he set up stall known as The Athenian, selling loukoumades (Greek doughnuts with honey), and other traditional food from his homeland. It was the first step towards the foundation of Smashing Plates. The rest is history in the making.

Here he shares some of the things that set his world alight.

Follow Smashing Plates on Instagram here.

Images: Steven Joyce; Jorge Tung; Raimond Klavins; Giammarco; Greg Gebhardt/ Wikimedia Commons

Favourite place in all the world?

The Greek islands. It’s hard to pinpoint just one, but they’re the perfect combination of food, sun, beach and hospitality. Time there means summer holidays: bliss.

Dream holiday?

I would love to go on a safari trip in Tanzania. I really enjoyed travelling across West Africa for five months a few years ago but am yet to explore the national parks of East Africa.

Most coveted item right now?

Not so much a thing as an experience. I miss dancing to a favourite DJ in a nightclub with my friends. Although restrictions have eased, I still haven’t felt as comfortable to do so in the same way.

Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

London never ceases to amaze me.

What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

Fiber Fueled: The Plant-Based Gut Health Program for Losing Weight, Restoring Your Health, and Optimizing Your Microbiome by Will Bulsiewicz. A friend of mine recommended it. It’s a fascinating read and great inspiration!

Best film you’ve seen recently?

I saw Parasite before the lockdown. It’s a great film with incredible storytelling.

Best binged-watched TV show?

Rupaul’s Drag Race! I only started watching it recently since the UK version launched. I’m still team A’Whora!

Top podcast of the moment?

MOB Kitchen’s A Bit of a Mouthful is really funny and it’s also great for learning about new restaurant openings.

Your hero?

The current Director-General of World Trade Organization, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She is an incredible economist, human welfare champion and global development expert. Her book Reforming the Unreformable: Lessons from Nigeria has been a favourite.

Favourite dish to cook?

Baked sole with Greek ladolemono sauce, made with plenty of lemon, olive oil, a touch of salt and oregano. It’s easy and delicious and takes me back to the Mediterranean.

Favourite café/ restaurant?

Pidgin was one of the first post lockdown meals I had at a restaurant. Amazing food, wine and team.

Top five dinner party invitees, dead or alive?

Amy Winehouse, Gemma Collins, Michelle Obama, Freddie Mercury, Britney Spears ...what a mix!

Favourite building?

I know it’s a bit controversial, but the Walkie Talkie building is the first one that comes to mind.

Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter?

@ks_ate_here. I love what he does and his commentary!

Your screensaver?

It’s a photo I took with my partner at the London Eye with the river Thames and Westminster in the background. It was a touristy thing we did last year as he has never been before despite living in London for some years now.

What would be your epitaph?

‘We had a good run.’

By Nancy Alsop
November 2021

Norman Conquest: Russell Norman Talks Trattoria Brutto
Tom Aikens, Chef
Robin Gill, Great British Chef

Nancy Alsop


Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.