Tuesday, 15 January 2013

As Greek As It Gets - A Review

By the beard of Zeus (for all you Anchorman fans out there), 'As Greek As It Gets' is exactly what it says on the tin. When you have made your reservations there, as you undoubtedly will, make your way to Earls Court. Turn right out of the station. Keep on walking straight past Greggs. Greggs is not what you need right now. Think of the Conservatives 'Pasty Tax' and be repulsed by the large man in the window inhaling his forth sausage roll. A Greek odyssey awaits you only a few doors down.

I had heard a lot about Greek hospitality. All encompassing. All feeding. I had come prepared. Minimal breakfast and a free afternoon ahead. Like a self fulfilling prophecy, I did indeed leave the restaurant three hours after entering in a sated trance. Only it wasn't Christmas day and I wasn't about to round off the evening with a family argument over Pictionary.

Having meandered from the point, I can confidently declare that this was in fact one of the best meals I have eaten in London. One of its merits was the feeling that this place was a success during either lunch or dinner service. I mean that when I went on a Saturday lunchtime the place was humming with folk. The decor is modern, with painted wooden spoons hanging from the walls alongside family photographs. The heavily friendly greeting at the door would suggest these diners were repeat visitors. Imagine being safe in the knowledge that you are guaranteed a fantastic meal, coupled with this kind of hospitality. These are qualities lacking on the British chain-street today. If you choose to go to Pizza Express, that's up to you. There is no wow factor, no personable, recognizable service. It is an essence I am trying to sum up really, that As Greek As It Gets has in abundance.

The food spoke for itself. Such depth of flavour in the Garides Saganaki, prawns cooked in ouzo, feta and tomato sauce. Those unfamiliar with cooking with ouzo should try it as it is no where near the strong aniseed flavour associated with end of meal complimentary shots on holiday. Instead it adds a subtle layer of sweetness. Spetzofai, the spicy mountain Pilio sausages were served in a reduced pepper and tomato sauce that begged to be mopped up by garlic pitta. Lucky we had some left from our board of dips. The real star for me was the slow cooked beef in honey. It fell apart on my fork and I offset all these heavy meats with courgette fritters, doused in fresh lemon. Another highlight was the seabass wrapped in filo, with a light, green olive oil dressing that reminded me of pressing olives in Tuscany. Oh and as a meatball lover, I had to try the Yiaoutlou, beef meatballs charred then served on pitta with yoghurt and tomatoes. To finish, I squeezed in Galaktoboureko, home made milk pie. And yogurt with honey and cherries. See what I mean about feeding me up?

There is little more I can say than don't take my word for it. Go 'As Greek As It Gets' yourself.


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