One week after opening, The Good Filo is bustling with Greek visitors. One says he’s been following co-owner and cafe entrepreneur Aki Daikos for eight years. “This is why,” he says, waving a takeaway pastry in the air.
His latest venture brings the food and filoxenia (“Greek hospitality”) of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki, to Ramsgate, assisted by co-owner and head baker Kiriakos Metaxotos.
Daikos first visited Thessaloniki when he was 16 and has been back every year since. “It’s a city known for its cafes, restaurants and social life. I take my family to experience that same culture every year, but I’d come back to Sydney and always feel like something was missing,” he says.
“With more and more migrants coming from Greece with the current situation over there, I wanted to make them feel like they were back at home, too,” says Daikos, referring to the Greek financial crisis.
The Good Filo – filo means both “pastry” and “friend” in Greek – is decorated with keepsakes from the motherland. One wall has an elaborate mural of Thessaloniki, another has a TV playing back-to-back Greek video clips.
Each day, third-generation baker Metaxotos arrives at midnight and begins baking. The rest of the team arrives for a 6am opening.
As well as bread they make classic Greek dishes including spanakopita, moussaka, pastitsio (a Greek lasagna made with penne, a béchamel sauce and a meat filling) and bougatsa (a breakfast pastry filled with either semolina custard, cheese or minced meat in layers of filo).
There’s also the crowd-pleasing tsoureki, a braided brioche-style sweet bread typically made to celebrate Easer. The bread will be available all year round in the unorthodox flavours of Oreo, Nutella and bueno (hazelnut and milk chocolate.)
There is also a hybrid of a croissant and a galaktoboureko (a semolina custard wrapped in filo), aptly named the croissantaboureko.
Daikos says customers shouldn’t leave without trying a Greek frappe or freddo cappuccino, which is made with a double shot of coffee and topped with frothed milk.
Daikos expects the cafe’s buzz to endure now that it’s earned the tick of approval from the Greek community, and says: “The vision is to open one in each state.”
The Good Filo
336–342 Rocky Point Road, Ramsgate