The Real Greek – with a Real Greek!
Having already learnt how to make a few of the dishes on the menu, I was delighted to be asked to go along and review one of The Real Greek restaurants. Like so many small restaurant groups The Real Greek has changed ownership a couple of times and the quality of the food has at times been questionable. But, what we tried on the moussaka making event was fabulous – and I was keen to share this particular experience with my part Greek dining companion. This particular group of restaurants has taken the concept of small plates and used it to present a range of greek Meze. Each dish is marked up on the menu with the calorie count – which can at times be a slightly scarey concept. But, very useful if you are trying to manage your weight, especially as you COULD easily pick a low calorie meal with the range of sea-food on offer.
I left my Real Greek companion to order. I did sneak in a Lamb Kofta, but the rest of the order was his suggestion of what would let us see how authentic the food was. Of course, in some ways it’s irrelevant because what really matters is does it taste good. However, with a name like ‘The Real Greek’, I think there’s perhaps more significance in ‘getting it right’ than if you pick a softer naming option.
Our Taramasalata was fabulous – nothing like the mouthwash pink slurry you get from the supermarket. It’s one of the dishes we learnt how to make and I will include the recipe at the end of this post. Having said that, it was scarily calorific – the small plate is listed on the menu as having over 900 calories. But we did have some healthier options too, the Melitzanosalata, a smokey aubergine salad is a much more respectable 236 calories and most of the other dishes are grilled rather than fried.
We had three seafood dishes – Grilled Octopus, Calamari and Tiger Prawns with Garlic and Chilli. I enjoyed all three, though found the octopus a bit chewy (I’ve yet to have octopus that isn’t!). And, of the seafood dishes I think the prawns were my favourite – big juicy chargrilled things, with a light chilli and garlic taste.
Dolmades were perhaps the star of the show, wonderfully tender vine leaves wrapped around rice, herbs and toasted pine nuts.
The Greek Salad came with a large chunk of feta on top, which my dining companion complained wasn’t salty enough – with the caveat that perhaps it was for the UK palate. But other than the mild feta, he was really quite impressed by the food.
My lamb kofta was spot on, a nice English lamb pattie, well seasoned and charcoal grilled.
For dessert, my dining companion tried the kaimaki icecream while I was served a pretty and delicious (and low calorie) plate of oranges, pistachios and greek yoghurt. Definitely something I shall try making at home because it was a lovely refreshing dish on a hot summer
Now, here’s the recipe for Taramasalata which would make a great addition to a celebratory buffet
Prices are reasonable and what you might expect for a small group of central London restaurants. Expect to pay between £3.50 and £8.00 for the small plates.
Disclaimer: We ate at The Real Greek by invitation of the Restaurant
The Real Greek – Marylebone
Tel: 020 7486 0466
56 Paddington Street