Tuesday, 28 February 2012

10 Greek Street

Is there anything quite as coveted as a great local restaurant? 

Especially in London, where commuting is a rarely a pleasure, W1 at the weekend is handed over to the Home Counties, and ‘villages’ are fetishised within the sprawl, like estate agent’s fantasies. 

The problem in this era of inflation, crazy property prices and the resulting necessity to live in East London, is that if you don’t live near a Trullo or a Pizarro, you’re bang out of luck. Step forward therefore 10 Greek Street, a new place with a neighbourhood feel but bang in the middle of Soho.

The food is simple stuff. I’m not sure how specifically it’s pitched or envisaged, but I’d say it was Modern European/British. Each dish has barely 3-4 ingredients and is simply presented.

To start, I had the charcutierie platter (£7) from the bar menu. I loved the vintage china which reminded me of those scamps at Foxcroft and Ginger. Some finocchiona, prosciutto and a darker, smokier ham surrounded a treasure trove of caperberries, cornichons and whole garlic cloves.

The Piglet had a ham terrine invention with crusty bread and some accompaniments. It seemed to be mainly fat.

The mains we ordered didn’t have too much to distinguish between them, both around £16. Here is where the simplicity of the menu led to duplication.

The pigeon breast, served with kale and shallots, was quite undercooked. The breast itself was attractive and plump, and it should be rare but that is why the breast filled are usually removed. When on the bone, rare becomes almost alive and the plate resembled a the scene of a massacre. 

Pheasant, served with kale and parsnip puree was a better dish. The pheasant was on the bone but cooked properly, well-seasoned and spatchcocked to enable even charring.

game bird and kale #1

The menu changes frequently though, and a look today shows more variety than our visit, but our friend the kale is still the obligatory green, and there are plenty of dishes consisting of “ingredients 1,2,3 – done”.

Now onto the wine. I’m not quite sure if the person behind the wine list is a charitable, Dionysian soul, or perhaps is oblivious of the going rate of decent plonk in W1, but it’s hugely good value, to the point of cheap.

There are many lovely drops like those Californian Zins that they usually hoard for themselves, Oregon Pinot Noir, and much from across Europe. Loads by the glass at £6 and under, including prosecco and champagne.

game bird and kale #2

The service was a tad scatty early on, but got better throughout the evening, befitting a neighbourhood restaurant. It’s cosy but loud, so Andrew Edmunds will be just fine. The whole place is pretty bloody warm, so in summer up at that bar, you’ll struggle. If they could install big windows that opened out onto the street, that would be brilliant.

Nonetheless we lingered for over 3 hours, plundering the normally aspirational depths of the wine list. I’ll be back and I sincerely hope they stay focused on the food – even if everybody else is too pissed to notice.

And in true Soho style, we skipped dessert and hauled our wino selves down to Gelupo for Central London's best gelato (I still prefer Dri Dri). The lady swore my peach granita and pistachio gelato was a popular combo! I'm not so sure...

Food – 7/10
Drink – 10/10
Service - 7/10
Value – 8/10
Tap water tales – 5/10 (requested twice early on during rubbish service, but carafed and topped up thereafter)
Staff Hotness – 8/10

10 Greek Street on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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