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The word-of-mouth buzz about O Hamos, a family-run taverna on the Greek island of Milos, had been so loud that I’d heard it in Athens. So I decided to discover it, over a late lunch, for myself.

Now, it may be a surprise that there is no seafood on the menu – given the restaurant’s fantastic location near the sea – but if the Psatha family can’t grow it, breed it or produce it on their farm, it’s got no business being on their hand-thrown plates. Plus, as well as supplying all the taverna’s meat and vegetables, they also make their own cheeses.

No matter, I was under orders from foodie friends in Athens to look no further than the katsikaki (young goat) baked in parchment with molasses. We threw in a “half-kilo” of local white wine (that’s how we order it in Greece) with a few traditional dishes, such as bouyiourdi (tomatoes, feta cheese and spicy peppers baked in a clay pot) and mopped up every bite with homemade bread that hung from our chairs in string bags.

Tables filled up fast across the courtyard, a Greek version of an English pub garden with bright geraniums, terracotta pots and kitchen herbs that spilled out of driftwood planters. “Forget trying to land a table here after 7pm,” said Gina, my lunch date (who summered on Milos as a child before moving here five years ago).

When our bill came, it was barely more than €10 each, and we also received a visit from Athina, the Psatha family matriarch, who brought us a free round of tsipouro. She also arrived with a black marker and invited me to scrawl over her pale lemon walls: a house ritual – the buzzy courtyard is full of poetic inscriptions and odes to Athina’s cooking.

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