It was at the age of 16 that Akis Daikos first visited Thessaloniki while holidaying in his late father’s hometown of Florina, and he still remembers the colours, sights, and aromas like it was yesterday.
Since then he has endeavoured to spend as much time there as possible, the tradition becoming one he now enjoys with his own family, making the trip back annually.
But when returning home, Daikos notes that there was always something missing and with the recent influx of Greek migrants to Australia’s cities, he thought there was no better time to realise his dream of recreating his memories of Thessaloniki closer to home; and so the new year will see the opening of The Good Filo in Ramsgate – a Greek bakery, patisserie and eatery in one.
“The fit-out is amazing – it’s like walking into an amazing eatery in Thessaloniki,” Daikos told Neos Kosmos.
“You’ve got your Greek film clips playing, there’s a nice ambience, I’ve got bakers and pastry chefs from Greece that will be working there, so it’s very authentic, but very classy.”
The former owner of Food Craft Espresso and Bakery is teaming up with Kiriakos Metaxotos, a proud third-generation Greek baker, and between them the old high school friends have over 40 years’ experience in the industry.
The Good Filo will be open seven days a week from 6.00 am, from which time customers will be greeted with the delicious aromas of house-baked breads including koulourakia and baximadia, and a range of delicious pites all cooked on the premises daily.
“We’re going to have the most amazing pites; we’re talking about eight to 10 different types on display – your kasiropita, your zambonotiropita … We’ll also be doing peinirli. It is something they do in Thessaloniki as well and I can’t actually see anyone who’s done it in Australia before. So there will be those sort of things for breakfast and then about 11 o’clock our homemade baguettes and paninis come out,” he says.
There will be pre-made sandwiches on offer, all made using the freshest ingredients ready to conveniently take away or eat in-house, along with a a selection of spitika fagita to choose from including pastitsio, moussaka, and gemista along with daily specials.
But it wouldn’t be a true Thessalonian bakery without sweets. Pastry chefs will be churning out trays of mouthwatering bougatsa, galaktoboureko, ek mek, kataifi, and mosaiko to name a few, but their speciality is sure to be their range of tsourekia (brioche breads) that will be available year round.
“We’re going to be making the most amazing tsourekia,” he says.
“We’ll have our standard ones, but we’re also doing tsoureki with merenda, tsoureki with oreos, and cookies and cream, that sort of thing. You’ll be able to have a piece in-house, or take a tsoureki home, or even take it as a gift.”
Meanwhile savoury and sweet pastries will pair perfectly with coffee roasted locally by Toby’s Estate, along with an extensive range of Greek coffees.
“We’re making the most amazing freddo-cappucino, freddo-espresso, your Nescafe classic frappé, and we’re even going to be doing the freddocino. Our front of house staff are from Greece as well, so you get to experience the most amazing Greek coffees, being done right,” says Daikos.
There’s no denying the passion the restaurateur has for true hospitality. Over the years he has made a name for himself in the industry and says that his secret to success is that he doesn’t see it as work, but a lifestyle.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time and I love what I do. It just comes down to being very passionate and being Greek, my dream was always to bring something from the motherland to Sydney, and the response has been phenomenal. People can’t wait for us to open, we’ve been inundated by responses via social and text and we’re looking forward to it,” Daikos says.
The ambitious pair have already discussed plans in the pipeline to bring the Thessloniki experience to the rest of Australia. But for now their sights are well and truly set on 3 January.
“There’s nothing available here in the morning where you can go and have your tiropita and your kafe, meet up with someone, have a good meal, be at an amazing place, and close your eyes and just think you’re in Greece. It gives the people from Greece that are living here now, that are working for something, the opportunity to feel like they’re back at home. That was one of my big inspirations, and as far as I understand, it’ll be perfect.”
The Good Filo is officially opening on Wednesday 3 January. Located at 336-342 Rocky Point Rd, Ramsgate, NSW, trading hours are Monday – Sunday: 6.00 am – 8.00 pm. To stay up-to-date, visit @thegoodfilo on Facebook and Instagram.