With the original Hoxton Market restaurant of this Hellenic chain now closed, the Real Greek seems past its best. There’s still life left at the Covent Garden branch, though.
On a Monday night, the air buzzed with the intercontinental chatter of tourists, as slick, friendly staff served dishes speedily. Within 30 seconds of ordering, an aggressively garlicky bowl of melitzanosaláta was on the table. Ten minutes later, it was joined by the cinnamon aromatics of three tart, creamy tyrópitta; five minutes after that, a curiously bitter lamb souvláki arrived.
The seating arrangement doesn’t encourage lingering, with punters perched on bar stool-like seats and at high tables of varnished dark wood. Add the metal bucket of Mythos beer bottles that sits atop a cabinet, plus a prominent spirits display, and you have a venue that feels half-bar, half-restaurant.
Typical decorative Greek touches are provided by big bunches of dried red chillies and net bags of garlic hanging in the window, a mini olive tree on the sill, and bottles of Cretan Latzimas olive oil joining the salt and pepper on tables. A perfectly pleasant place, but not somewhere for a leisurely repast.