Carob Tree’s big contemporary dining room (red drapes, white pillars, lots of wood) was rammed on our midweek visit, so much so that a slightly late arrival caused our table to be given away. Not a problem: we were seated by the bar with a drink until another came up. Which gave us time to listen to multi-generational families chatting in Greek, and big birthday groups knocking back Cypriot Keo beer.
The crowds, high ceilings and open-plan layout (the building was once a pub) combine to make pretty lousy acoustics – nothing, however, that can’t be compensated by attentive service and a plate of carefully sourced (breeds and butchers are name-checked) charcoal-grilled meat. Gloucester Old Spot souvláki was a shining example, while a generous portion of neatly butterflied grilled prawns was freshly flavoured simplicity at its best. A cold mezédes selection showcased perfect taramosaláta and tzatzíki among a few duds (dark-brown, tasteless melitzanosaláta; briny peppers that tasted as if they’d come straight from a tin).
The management seems to be missing a trick by offering such a limited Greek wine selection (just two whites and one red), but it’s the friendly, neighbourhood vibe that keeps Carob Tree packed until closing time.