The Vegan Real Greek – Not Just for Christmas!
With Christmas upon us, and festive menus everywhere, I couldn’t help but be curious when I heard about The Real Greek Christmas menu. Added to that, they also have a vegetarian and vegan offering on the same menu and I just had to check it out.
So inviting my vegan friend, I headed to The Real Greek in Reading.
The Real Greek has recently opened in Reading, and I have already heard good things about it. It is located on the Riverside of Oracle shopping centre, opposite the VUE cinema. There is seating outside so that in summer you can enjoy Greek food Al Fresco, but on a cold winter night, the soft warm lighting inside is much more appealing.
The restaurant was busy with smaller groups of people clearly enjoying a Christmas meal together, with tables spaced well enough apart that others don’t encroach on you. Which is great if you want an intimate dinner for two.
The Christmas Menu includes a welcome drink of Prosecco, and a starter selection of mixed Greek Meze Plate, including crudites, flatbread, houmous, tzatziki, green pea fava, tiropitakia, dolmades and olives. The tiropitakia were triangles of feta cheese wrapped in layered phyllo pastry and a traditional Greek dish, but as my hot date was vegan, they offered to replace hers with extra stuffed vine leaves, without us even asking. It certainly was nice that they remembered she was vegan and just catered for it without us needing to ask. A big thumbs-up for the service here.
I chose the Turkey Breast on a bed of Saffron Rice for my main, as this was what I had come here to try. The turkey was served on a bed of cranberry and sultana mixed saffron rice, and covered with sundried tomato and orange dressing with a red wine cranberry jus. The turkey breast was grilled, but not dry, exactly how I like it. A surprise came from the tomato and orange dressing which added a slight zing to the finish, somewhat pleasantly lightening the dish.
The wine list has a very good range of Greek wines and Restaurant Manager Artur was happy to discuss them with me. He knew his stuff and as I was having the Turkey Christmas menu he recommended a wine not on the menu – a bottle of Nemea from the Greek variety Agiorgitiko. This wine is a dry red, aged in oak barrels and a fine accompaniment to turkey and creamy pasta.
All the main course dishes are gluten-free, and my Vegan date chose the Grilled Vegetable and Sweet Potato Stack. This is served as layers of grilled vegetables and sliced sweet potato upon a bed of garlic and tomato sauce. It comes with feta and kale chips, but the feta had already been removed and extra chips added to make up. Again, great service.
The kale crisps were crunchy and salty like Chinese Seaweed, and my date declared they were the best kale chips she had ever had. The freshness from this really sat well against the roast vegetable, although if you chose the option without feta you might want to ask for a bit more garlic tomato sauce.
The pictures don’t do the food credit, and it was difficult to get good food shots with the high ceilings and evening lighting. But the food was good, both to taste and to look at. Others in the restaurant could be seen Instagramming their food so clearly a winner with others as well.
For dessert, not that either of us had much room for it, I chose the Caramel and Pecan Cheesecake and my date went for the traditional Greek Baklava.
Cut into stacked triangles, the baklava pastry glistened with the honey syrup, and the mint sprig added just the right amount of aroma.
I am glad I live locally as we left the restaurant full and content, both having enjoyed the Greek take on Christmas, without the sight of a sprout anywhere.
The Real Greek Christmas menu costs £19.95 for two courses or £24.95 for three, both of which include a glass of Prosecco. It is available from now until the 7th January 2018
The Real Greek
Reading, RG1 2AT