10 Greek Street: the blueprint for a great neighbourhood restaurant
Fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bold, comforting flavours. An ambience that’s understated yet buzzing. And great value for money. If there was a blueprint for that neighbourhood restaurant I wish was in my neighbourhood, Soho’s 10 Greek Street would be it.
The bare, stripped back interior may appear somewhat spartan to some. And yes, they’ve crammed a tad too many tables in so be prepared for the inevitable neighbourly eavesdropping. Also, the no-bookings policy for dinner can be a pain, particularly on Friday or Saturday where the wait can easily be more than an hour (the main reason its taken me over a year to visit!). But if you skip the fuss and book yourself in for one of their slightly quieter lunch sessions, there’s plenty to like about this Soho favourite.
The food here is far more enticing than its unimaginative name would suggest. The ever-changing, chalked up menu on the blackboard shouts of dish after dish that’s screaming to be eaten. Most come in both small plates (£7 – £9 each) or larger, main course sizes (£14 and under). Eager to sample as large a spread as we could, my lunch buddy and fellow blogger-cum-catering guru Milli and I decided to share four of their smaller plates.
Dorset crab, puntarelle, fennel and blood orange (£8)
Freshly picked Dorset crab, served with blood oranges, fennel and puntarelle was crisp and well-balanced – the tangy pickled fennel and puntarelle salad cutting through the sweetness of the crab and blood oranges wonderfully. Arguably more a summer’s dish than one for the coldest day of the year so far, but you couldn’t fault the freshness of the ingredients and flavours at play.
Sardines, served with sobrasada, paprika potatoes and caper berries was a punchy taste of Spain and the Med. The highlight for me was the sobrasada on the side. For those who haven’t had it before, think a patty made of chorizo – only more juicy and spicy. A great accompaniment to the chargrilled sardine fillets.
Grilled sardines, sobrasada, paprika potatoes and caper berries (£9)
Venison ragu with polenta, rosemary and parmesan (£7)
The venison ragu was even better. Spiked with rosemary, parmesan and served on a bed of velvety polenta, the meat had been braised with tender loving care to melt-in-the mouth perfection. Each mouthful unleashed bombs of rich, comforting, gamey flavours. Easily the best dish out of the whole lot.
Their sweetbread dish however was less successful. I usually only enjoy sweetbreads when they’ve been deep-fried or caramelised till they’ve formed a golden-brown crust. We found the texture in this case much too mushy. The overly wet chestnut and sprout puree didn’t help either…
Sweetbreads, sprouting brocolli, pancetta, brussel sprout and chestnut puree (£7)
A crisp, buttery tarte tartin, served with a luscious scoop of spiced cinnamon ice-cream brought proceedings to a happy end. What’s arguably even more pleasing than the food is the affordable, varied selection of wines here – all available by the glass, carafe or bottle. And what a list they’ve managed to curate – everything from French and New World classics to lesser-known gems. Our 375ml carafe of beautiful Hungarian Tokaj was an absolute bargain at a £12.
Tarte tartin with spiced ice cream (£6)
At under £50 a head for 2 (including wine), 10 Greek Street is incredible value for the quality you get. It’s no wonder this place has become such a favourite amongst the Soho crowd and Londoners alike. I’m glad I finally got me to the Greek.
10 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4DH | www.10greekstreet.com | Tuesday Jan 15th