A taste of Spain via war-torn Ukraine

Modern Greek restaurant Ampéli has closed down and its Fitzrovia site has been taken over by a Ukrainian-owned Spanish restaurant, Boca a Boca.

Ampéli was opened in 2020 by photographer Jenny Pagnoni, taking inspiration from modern wine-focused restaurants in Athens, and won plenty of press support from the FT, Guardian, Standard and Independent – and from Harden’s reporters, who praised its ‘delicious food, marvellous service and beautiful venue’.

Its closure last month was barely noted, with the founders reportedly exploring a new opportunity in Greece.

Its successor in foodie Charlotte Street is the first international branch of a restaurant opened in war-torn Kyiv last year by entrepreneur Andrii Nikonov.

He says: “Boca a Boca takes inspiration from Spain, but our business has Ukrainian hospitality at its heart, so it’s exciting to be able to show Londoners a combination they won’t have come across before.

‘Boca a boca’ means ‘word of mouth’ in Spanish. The menu will focus on tapas and small plates including paella, and will be backed by an all-Spanish wine list including a featured ‘wine of the month’.

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