Friday, 5 February 2010

The Real Greek

Went to The Real Greek in the Westfield Shopping Centre at White City for dinner after watching 8 Out of 10 Cats being recorded at the BBC.

We went for the Cretan Meal Deal, a mix of eight hot and cold dishes.

First came the cold dishes, working my way down from the top of the picture:

1. Greek Flatbread
They say:- Light, moist and incredibly moreish, the authentic Greek classic
I say:- looks like it came pre-prepared and was only cooked at the restaurant. The breads were far too uniform and had an intriguing dimpling pattern underneath for them to be hand made. Still fairly good for slathering with the various dips. More substantial than a pita bread.
2. Revithia
They say:- Tender baby chickpeas home-baked with handfuls of herbs, olive oil and lemon
I say:- hard bullets that with harsh overpowering raw garlic and lemon seasonings.
3. Santorinian Fava
They say:- An unforgettable purée of earthy Santorini lentils, olive oil and herbs
I say:- Earth? Yes. Unforgettable? I wish it wasn't. IT was a dense almost gluey paste with such an unusual taste we kept having more because we couldn't decide it we like it or not. We decided not in the end.
4. Gigandes Plaki
They say:- Hearty giant beans, slow-cooked by our chefs in a rich and herby tomato sauce
I say: - Fantastic. Probably the best dish we had. An amazing rich sauce which almost tasted of ragu, except we weren't eating Italian and there was no meat. Moreish is not the word. We would have been happy with a massive bowl of this and some of the new potatoes (see below).
5. Hummus (we ordered this as an extra. How can you have Greek without hummus?)
They say:- Our daily home blend, rich in tahini and delicately spiced with cumin and fresh chilli
I say:- Good tasty hummus. Pretty much what you'd expect.
6. Greek Salad (see picture below)
They say:- Big, hearty and rustic, with tomatoes, cucumber, olives, feta, red onion and olive oil
I say:- Pretty mean to be honest. Plenty of veg but only one chunk of feta, which was disappointing. The onions were too harsh. We ate it more out of duty (you know, five-a-day and all that) than desire.

Then came the hot dishes:
From the top of the picture:
7. Grilled Halloumi
They say:- Served with light house-pickled cucumber and red cabbage
I say:- Only two slices of cheese but with very pleasing strong griddle char bars. Very tasty.
8. Chicken Skewer
They say:- Grilled succulent Farm Assured British chicken, skewered with onions and peppers, marinated and served on a bed of leaves
I say:- Dry, dry, dry! Overcooked, flavourless, dry chicken with charred raw veg. No thanks.
9. New Potatoes
They say: - Delicate, nutty and tossed in olive oil, spring onion, lemon juice and fresh dill
I say:- Delicious! Amazing light yet almost buttery texture with a very subtle flavour. We were fighting over the last one. (I do concede that they are completely out of season, but, boy, they were good).

Then it was time for dessert. We went for the Greek Dessert Sharer. We were expecting four small taster portions but actually got four full desserts!
Clockwise from the top:
1. Chocolate Mousse Cake
They say:- a luxurious, dark chocolate mousse cake
I say:- could have come from the freezer section of any supermarket.
2. Baklava
They say:- Homemade, crisp filo pastry with walnut and honey
I say:- Not too sweet but not enough flavour from the nuts came through. Unfortunately I did manage to bite down on a whole clove, which pretty much ruined my taste buds for the next 5 minutes.
3. Real Greek Yoghurt and Walnuts
They say:- with whole, preserved walnuts in honey syrup
I say:- Lovely. Rich yoghurt with the characteristic twang. The honey was a perfect foil and the preserved walnuts were an lovely addition. The yoghurt also went well with all the other desserts.
4. Kataïfi
They say:- Angel-hair filo pastry with pistachio nuts, freshly made in our kitchen every day
I say:- Why do they bother to make this fresh every day? It was like a sweet dried Shredded Wheat. If you manage more than a mouthful you're a better man than I. Mind you I wouldn't even recommend ordering this!

So, the food was hit and miss. Unfortunately more miss than hit, but boy the hits were good. If I went again I'd have the plaki and new potatoes, and maybe some halloumi, followed by Greek yoghurt and baklava.

The service was incredibly speedy and it's undeniably great value; we paid £17.50 each (including a lager).

I would go back and I would recommend it, but I'd be more discerning about what I ordered.

Real Greek on Urbanspoon

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