The revamped Newport Market is a major statement for the town. And it is the second permanent base for Meat and Greek, after years of establishing themselves as one of South Wales’ most popular street food names and making their first home in Barry’s Goodsheds.
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‘Street’ Food is everywhere now and has come to mean pretty much anything you want it to. But that’s literally where Meat and Greek started, setting up their charcoal grill up the side alley of Clwb Ifor Bach off Cardiff’s Womanby St, years ago when the whole idea was in its local infancy.
Beginning with very basic equipment, one Sunday afternoon, it was their first time feeding strangers. We were there that day, years ago, and somehow it was obvious that there was something special about them and their food. These handfuls of pitta bread stuffed with smoky grilled chicken and pork and halloumi were a hit.
Word spread. Next time that same alley was crammed with people in a queue that overran its length. It was easy to see why so many were so keen to try it for themselves.
Even though they are now established in two permanent locations they do things the same way. This is still very much a family business, still doing things the same way, but on a bigger scale.
The eagle eyed will spot something different at Meat and Greek’s stall. There’s some heavyweight extraction equipment others don’t have. It is a reminder us that even indoors, cooking over charcoal is not just important to what they do, but essential.
So what’s their secret? It’s deceptively simple and it has never changed: even now in their new home, it is all about good, honest food. It is about the flavours of home and heritage, grilled over coals and stuffed into toasted pitta. In essence it is uncomplicated, but hearty and instantly satisfying and served by some of the most welcoming people in the business. A permanent base will give them scope to broaden what they do, to cook in a more expansive and indulgent way for us lucky visitors: you can be sure any changes will be something you’ll want to try.
Meat and Greek will always be a shining example of how far you can come when you love what you do. Their street food may have found its second home. But what makes them special? That hasn’t changed one bit.