Mazi is set to revive the sharing culinary traditions of Greece at its beautiful Notting Hill location and garden

GASTRONOMY / 22 JUL 2016 / BY DIMITRIS PANAGIOTIDIS

MAZI LONDON
Oysters © MAZI Restaurant.
MAZI Restaurant. 12-14 Hillgate Street, London W8 7SR, UK / mazi.co.uk

MAZI opened in spring 2012 with the aim of turning out-dated misconceptions of Greek cuisine on their head and promises delicious contemporary Greek dining by combining traditional produce and classic recipes with a modern twist. Translated in English as ‘together’, MAZI is set to revive the sharing culinary traditions of Greece at its beautiful Notting Hill location and garden.

It is true, smells and flavours cover the biggest percentage of memory. Would you share with us, a unique, still vivid moment in life?

Coming from a “foodie” family whose whole life revolves around food, I have so many I would like to share..But having to choose just one it would have to be: summer in our holiday house, the smell of “gemista” in the oven and that one of smoked burning aubergine while my dad is preparing “hunkar begendi”, a dish popular in northern Greece where I come from. Like many Greek families, we used to have at least two different dishes cooked per day.

MAZI_LONDON_GASTROMETRY_02
The garden © MAZI Restaurant.

Every life takes its own direction, influenced by a unique pattern of decisions and circumstances. Yet, we are driven by many different kinds of motives, some self-serving and some aimed at purposes beyond the self. What moves you to make the important choices that shape your behaviour and, ultimately, the directions of your life?

I am a very much “go with the flow” kind of girl and always do things that feel right at that specific moment. Of course, success and recognition in one’s field is the ultimate motive that keeps pushing you to try harder and achieve more. Providing for my family is the other one.

How has your cuisine evolved since you started and how do you think it will change in the future?

Since we opened MAZI Restaurant. in May 2012 we raise the bar higher and higher every year. We get influenced by culinary trends, update our menu seasonally, listen to our diners and upgrade our kitchen equipment to achieve best possible quality. From molecular cuisine to the newest “back to basics” movement, we might get inspired by other future trends but we will always stay true to our Greek identity.

How do you maintain your and your team’s daily motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, pushback or setbacks?

The restaurant industry is a hard one, where almost every day you have to deal with new drama. We have daily team meetings and motivational speeches before every service. Success doesn’t come easy and you need to work hard for it. I try to remind everyone (including myself) that if we keep trying and work hard, no matter how many times we fall, we will get there. My motto “I never dreamed about success. I worked for it”.

Mazi, 12-14 Hillgate Street, London W8 7SR, tel 020 7229 3794
Christina Mouratoglou & Adrien Carre © MAZI Restaurant.

Co-owner of MAZI, Christina Mouratoglou says “We get influenced by culinary trends, update our menu seasonally, listen to our diners and upgrade our kitchen equipment to achieve best possible quality. From molecular cuisine to the newest “back to basics” movement, we might get inspired by other future trends but we will always stay true to our Greek identity.”

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

The most satisfying moment is every time a customer shakes my hand telling me “that was the best meal I have ever had”. My best achievement is a perfect service at MAZI. Nothing satisfies me more than happy ecstatic customers. I feel like a rock star on stage.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?

I have been failed by people I worked with in the past. No matter how much you have built and invested in a relationship, at the end of the day the grass is always greener somewhere else. I had been quite romantic in my approach but now I have learnt to always expect the unexpected and be more pragmatic. I always have plan b ready, just in case. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Have you fulfilled your dreams? Any future plans?!

I have to confess that MAZI has succeeded beyond my expectations. I kind of knew we were on something good but never thought it would become such a success. We are now working on a very exciting new project in London, and MAZI franchises in the US and Middle East.

Suppose you were hosting this coming Saturday night. And you could invite anyone you wanted. Dead or alive.

Which four would you invite to come over and why?

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts aka The Rolling Stones. I guess not the biggest foodies in the world, but imagining the atmosphere and the kind of stories that would go around the table, this makes it the ultimate dinner party for me.