Anyone who enjoyed eating at the original Real Greek on Hoxton Market (now closed) can’t fail to be disappointed by the watered-down chain left in its wake, but this diminutive branch, a stone’s throw from the Hellenic Centre, seemed to be keeping its end up on our lunchtime visit. Inside, the stripped-back feel of the rest of the chain is very much in evidence: exposed brick, statement light fittings, scrubbed-up floorboards and multi-level banquettes.
While other diners were a bit thin on the ground, service was swift and friendly; staff encouraged us to linger. The menu lists a good selection of Greek wines (including the house red and white: both available by the carafe). Piled high on afternoon tea-style stands, our mezédes were more hit than miss, with perfectly tender grilled calamares and well-spiced lamb keftédes the best of the bunch. So-so tomatoes in a skimpily sized horiátiki failed to impress, but we happily mopped up a melitzanosaláta, despite an excess of herbs and spring onions masking any authentic smokiness.
There’s no escaping the chain factor, but for a glass or two after work or a swift weekday lunch, there’s life yet in this particular branch.