Filaments of cloud scattered across a deep blue sky and at the corner of Sharrowvale Road I heard a snatch of bouzouki music.
At once I was transported back to the island of Milos last year, to a beach café where I dangled my toes in the wine-dark sea while eating a Greek salad.
Now could a pavement table at Sheffield’s Greedy Greek Deli bring back more of those memories? Could it compete?
It was a tough call. But even allowing for the fascination of watching motorist after motorist park on the double yellow lines yards from my table, I reckon Milos had it.
Well, the scenery is far better than Hunters Bar for a start.
No fault of the Greedy Greek’s food, though. It may surprise you if you’ve not been before.
Anyone who’s been to Greece will know it is a land of 100,000 restaurants and only one menu.
And if you’ve stumbled off the plane and been pitched out into the middle of Athens’ tourist restaurant quarter you will know the food can be a Greek tragedy.
That moussaka my wife ordered in a central Athens restaurant was such mediocre slop it would have stopped Jason and the Argonauts in their tracks looking for the Golden Fleece.
The food got better (hint: avoid anywhere with a tout outside, good places don’t need it) and if you knew where to look there were some really surprising culinary treats.
For me it was eating dakos, a barley bread salad with tomatoes, feta, olive and oil, at that beach café, a revelation of taste.
But I didn’t eat a better lamb kleftiko over there as I did at the Greedy Greek.
The place serves as a takeaway and a café, with tables outside, downstairs and in a charming room upstairs.
Either way you queue at the counter and can watch them slicing meat off the kebab spit while you wait to order or browse the shelves stacked with Greek goodies. It’s pay before you eat here.
The menu at the Greedy Greek is long and typical. There was no dakos but we settled on stuffed courgettes and spinach and feta pie to begin, then kleftiko and moussaka to follow – my wife was giving the Greek nation a chance to redeem itself.
The menu also offered Mythos beer, not priced but “please ask” said the menu. I did. They didn’t have any. But I could nip to the supermarket and bring a bottle back, no corkage charged, said the girl at the counter.
I bet myself the local Sainsbury’s would be Mythos-free (it was) and settled for sparkling water.
The Greedy Greek was opened in 2003 by Dennis Mouzakis who married not Helen of Troy but Helen of Sheffield and they once had a restaurant in Dronfield.
They take a great deal of care over the food. Apart from the salads and kebabs, dishes are prepared in a kitchen unit near Sheffield by Dennis’s mother Tassia. It’s his father you can sometimes see at the grill.
They also do a fair bit of outside catering.
The family comes from the Greek island of Zakinthos, where they still have property. Their arrival in Sheffield was a breath of fresh air because the only other Greek restaurant was a themed party place where the booze flowed, the waiters smashed plates and the kitchen hoped you wouldn’t notice the food.
Stuffed courgette, the vegetarian version (£4.30), was full of interest with a good sauce while my spanakotyropita, which takes almost as long to say as eat, was OK but a little on the dry side. It could have done with some garnish and a little sauce, so my wife gave me some of hers.
The kleftiko (£9.60) was marvellous. The meat was intensely lamby and beautifully tender. Dennis said it was cooked slowly for up to six hours.
It swam in a pool of sauce. I dipped a finger. It tasted really good. Did they have any bread? I asked the waitress. Only pitta. Now that’s fine to scoop up hummous but wouldn’t soak up the sauce.
So before my meal went cold I legged it a couple of hundred yards along the road to the Seven Hills Bakery, bought a ciabatta roll for 70p and hoped the Greedy Greek wouldn’t charge me crumbage. They didn’t.
It was worth mopping up every last drop of sauce. I’d also ordered another Greek speciality, lemon potatoes (£3.70). They were good, too.
My wife’s meaty moussaka (£7.90) knocked spots off that one in Athens.
And with the help of that bread roll the two of us had the cleanest plates ever seen at the Greedy Greek.
We finished by sharing a first-class gooey baklava (£4) and coffees (£2.05 each).
You can enjoy this pretty much any time as the Greedy Greek is open for most of the day all week. We paid £39.05 for food and drink and another 70p for that bread roll.
PS: Dennis told me later that Mythos is available at Wine Rack along Sharrowvale Road for £1.99 a bottle.