Inspired by their time living on the island of Crete, partners Jackie and Dan launched Mediterranean restaurant Exo Poli last year.

Located on Longden Road, just outside Shrewsbury’s town centre, this new kid on the block serves meze-style dishes reminiscent of those you would experience in Greece.

On our arrival, the marriage of smells, decor and music instantly transported me and my partner from a dark and gloomy winter evening to what could easily have been a restaurant situated in a warm and sunny Greek town.

A lot of effort has gone into the aesthetics - bright, multicoloured tiles line the walls, and lanterns hang from the ceiling. It’s hard to believe these selfsame premises once housed a dark and dingy post office!

Throughout January, Exo Poli is offering a meze feast, with vegetarian & meat options and half a litre of Cretan natural wine costing £25 for two people. We swapped the wine for two bottles of Mythos, a tasty Greek lager, and sat back to admire our surroundings for the evening.

The restaurant boasts two main indoor seating areas as well as one outdoor area (soon to be joined by a second). The menu changes regularly, with a focus on seasonal and locally sourced produce. The kitchen is open and situated at the back of the front dining area, a set-up which makes for an intimate and personal dining experience.

It didn't take long for our food to arrive. The platter featured classics such as black & green olives, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, a creamy, homemade houmous and a fresh Greek salad (complete with a very generous helping of feta!). There was also a portion of perfectly cooked chips, some toasted bread and three homemade hot dishes. The first of these was simple yet tasty, comprising roasted vegetables - aubergine, peppers, onion and courgette - in a tomato sauce.

Next up were two meat dishes - a spiced pork & chestnut dish, and chicken in a preserved lemon & thyme cream sauce.

The latter was absolutely delicious! The notes of lemon and thyme that ran throughout the rich and creamy sauce were impressively subtle, while the chicken was perfectly cooked. I thoroughly recommend ordering this dish if you see it on the menu.

The pork & chestnut dish wasn’t far behind. Featuring nicely cooked chunks of meat, earthy chestnuts and a subtle cinnamon taste, it was an enjoyable and certainly a seasonal dish with which to end our first ever visit to Exo Poli.

For Mamma Mia! fans, the restaurant has started running themed evenings complete with entertainment. Tickets have to be booked in advance, cost £30 per person and include a glass of prosecco on arrival plus food and singing. The next events are scheduled for Friday 6 & Saturday 7 March.

Jackie and Dan are fantastic hosts who welcomed us into their restaurant with open arms. I’m certainly looking forward to visiting them for a second time, in the summer, when the back terrace is complete.

Next time we stop by, we’ll sample some options from the main menu - and there are certainly some delightful dishes from which to choose: belly pork and chicken steeped in honey & thyme; bell peppers stuffed with rice and mint; prawn saganaki; chicken souvlaki... 

**** Lauren Foster