I’ll confess, I’ve never eaten Greek properly before, while I’ve always wanted to visit Greece, I’ve never got round to it, and as a result, I have never properly eaten the delights of Greek cuisine. So when The Real Greek invited me and my friends down for a meal, I couldn’t resist saying yes.
The Real Greek is a restaurant chain created by Tonia Buxton, they have restaurants all over the south coast and London. Much of the food and even cooking equipment has come straight from Greece, to offer you a truly authentic eating experience.
The nature of the restaurants are Greek Tapas, you simply order a few plates (recommended 3-4 per person) and they come out of afternoon tea styled stands. They do also have a small lunch menu as well if you fancied something a bit lighter – this option also looked slightly more affordable than the tapas.
This chain is slightly expensive to eat at, cold mezes average at an affordable £4.70 while hot and grilled mezes come in slightly higher at £6.10. While this may not seem a lot, if you’re having the recommended 3-4 plates a person, this can stack up quickly. But if you are wanting an evening of indulgence then it’s perfect.
What we ate
The Real Greek menu is split into sections, cold, hot and grilled mezes as well as nibbles, sides and desserts. We tried a bit of everything to get a feel of what was on offer. We ate in the Southampton branch, other ones may vary when it comes to staff and food.
To start with we had cold mezes, the dips are incredibly large and don’t come with bread so you do need to order that as well, they are definitely large enough to serve 4 for one dip. A stand out for me was the spicy walnut and red pepper, it had a fiery kick and loads of texture so worked well with the bread but also as a side to the hot mezes.
A stand out hot meze for me was the salt cod, it was perfectly cooked and incredibly soft. The halloumi fries were also delicious, but nothing out of the ordinary.
When it came to the grilled mezes, I was incredibly excited. The Real Greek has a large selection of these mezes from meat to fish to vegetarian. The pork belly was absolutely phenomenal, soft and tender and filled with so much flavour. The lamb kefte was also incredibly tasty and came with a delightful sauce on the side. While the octopus with fava wasn’t quite my cuppa tea, the dining companions were very keen on it.
The sides were pretty standard, the greek salad was fresh and helped break the meal up a bit, then agean slaw was also delicious but quite different – if you order this, don’t expect it to be like normal slaw.
To finish it all off, we had a selection of desserts and coffees. The greek filo custard pie was highly recommended and did not disappoint (so I was told) and the chocolate mouse cake was tasty and soft. My only grievance would be the lack of gluten free puddings, I had to settle for a mango sorbet, refreshing yes, but not exactly groundbreaking.
About the restaurant
The Real Greek has an outside eating area as well as in, as the evening was nice we sat outside, unaware it was also a smoking area, had we of been informed we wouldn’t have sat there, as having cigarette smoke blowing over your dinner doesn’t make you want to eat it.
The staff seemed uninterested yet over animated all at once. We were shown to our table by the point of a finger and had our order taken by a man seeming incredibly bored. We were then half hugged by staff putting things down and picking them up over our shoulders. Our plates weren’t taken away between courses (it’s tapas so it can get messy between courses) and staff leaned onto our table and often invaded personal space when trying to communicate.
The overall opinion
Great fresh food, there wasn’t anything undercooked or inedible, it felt like they really care about the food. Staff weren’t spectacular, and the menu was very expensive. This being said, I would go back again.