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10 Greek Street
020 7734 4677
From the prosaic name to the determinedly plain decor, everything about this pint-sized Soho favourite is purely functional – apart from the food and wine, that is. The short, daily changing menu “always pleases”, pulling in ideas from Western Europe to point up its larder of British ingredients. You might find chicken hearts and livers with Brussels sprouts, Marsala and sage, Tamworth pork partnered with savoy cabbage and a scattering of soft pancetta or plump hake and spinach given extra bite with some dense chorizo. An all-day selection of smaller plates keeps things simple (think salted Padrón peppers, crumbed pig’s trotters or smoked mackerel with fennel), while adding some flashes of colour to the black-and-white room. You can reserve a table for lunch (“perfect”, says one fan), but dinner is no-bookings only: if you’re willing to queue, however, the wine list helps to spin out an evening with its brilliantly affordable selection from across the globe.
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On its own, the informal ‘main’ list for this Soho eatery is an impressive bit of work. Tightly chosen, it stuffs more good and interesting bottles into its 40 bins than many lists 10 times the size, with a terrific selection available either by the glass or half-bottle. Add to this the ever-changing selection of ‘fine wines’ – hand-written and snapped up in tiny quantities, and it’s a list that’s as innovative, informal and quirky as the clientele.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
10 Greek Street
020 7734 4677
Tottenham Court Road Tube Station 162m
Leicester Square Tube Station 381m
Football Association 74m
Prince Edward Theatre 91m
Mon-Sun 12N-10.45pm (Sun -9pm)
This cosy private room is tucked downstairs, accommodating up to 12 guests for a seated meal. The menu changes each month, and is served family-style, for the whole table to share. The evolving wine list is available with a selection by the bottle, carafe and glass. There’s also the Black Book of Wine, highlighting a selection of hard-to-find wines from private cellars and collections, with options both by the bottle and glass. The room also has a Sonos speaker system, with the restaurant happy to play a personalised playlist or select one of its own.
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Not one for the fat-arsed corporate diners who get off on white tablecloths and deferential waiters – Yay!
The food is excellent, great atmosphere and ridiculously well-priced wines! With that in mind, I can easily overlook the slightly cramped conditions and the no reservations policy.
Food + drink: 3
Our first visit on a busy Saturday lunchtime today, and despite an early booking the place was very busy and very noisy by the time we left. The place is small and a bit cramped- truth to tell probably not quite enough space for the tables they have there, and thats not many.
That aside the service was pretty good- not super-friendly- there wasn't really time for that- but certainly very polite and efficient. We had bread and water at the table within moments of sitting down , and whilst the pace wasn't rushed it was by no means leisurely. Which brings me to my only real gripe. If you want a relaxing lunch for a quiet chat with friends or partner, you might want to think about whether the closeness of your fellow-diners and the noise level are consistent with “relaxing”. OTOH if you want a buzzy, convivial sort of place with everyone trying to make sure they get heard, you'll love it.
The food is shown on blackboards . Some dishes are starter sized, some main course sized and some come as either. Its not a huge list. We never got to know about the selection of small plates, because they weren't on a blackboard and the rolled -up menu on our table was a wine list. A comment on the wine. We ordered a half bottle each of their lowest prices white ( a Vermentino) and their cheapest red( a Sicilian). Both these were very enjoyable indeed and they don't charge more for two halves than for a bottle.
Now, our food. We both enjoyed our starters – my wife with soup and me with a small portion of red wine risotto with nicely charred Treviso and burrata. Likewise the mains of monkfish cheeks wrapped in bacon with lentils: and confit of duck with butternut squash and celeriac. Potatoes always seemed to be extra and there was only boiled new on offer. We both felt the same about our dishes- decent but not outstanding, certainly nothing to distinguish this restaurant from many others. Absolutely nothing to complain about, but nothing particularly to remember either. The bill, with coffee and good breads with oil(no butter) came to £74 with service, which we thought was about right for what we had.
Go again? Possibly not. There's nothing much wrong with this restaurant that a bit bigger premises wouldn't put right, but there's not so much that's great about it that I'd forgo a favourite, or the chance to try somewhere new to return there. Its fine- its just not special either in absolute terms, or by comparison with its peer group.
Food + drink: 4
I'm baffled why 10 Greek Street might be described as a ‘gem’, when it sits precisely half way along a line between Arbutus and La Giaconda, both of which have been doing exactly the same thing as this place for a number of years now, with far greater success. Indeed if anyone has a claim to be called a hidden gem of Soho's food circuit, it's La Giaconda which is more intimate and to my mind more foodie.
The menu looks good on first glance, but when you are forced to choose, the options are somewhat limited. It's nice to see smoked eel and partridge amongst the starters, but I wonder how many they actually shift. You might describe the food offering as ‘modern European’, but the pedant in me got a bit cross seeing dishes as diverse as scallops with morcilla, pork belly with polenta, and chickpeas, aubergine and yoghurt all in the same place. You wish the chef would pick one cuisine and stick to it.
The food itself was perfectly good: bruschetta with figs came with a ball of spot-on burrata, the queen scallops were dressed with lovely bacon-y oil courtesy of the morcilla, and wild mushroom rotolo was fine and garlicky although it swiftly collapsed on the plate. There was no arguing wth the sea bream with baby fennel and artichoke, though it is hardly going to win any awards for originality – unlike the more innovative offerings round the corner at Arbutus.
Service was grown-up, confident, friendly and efficient. Pricing was up and down however: the rotolo as a main was costed at £14, but the chickpea starter was £7 which seems daft given the ingredients cost.
Tables are mostly terribly cramped together: the long line of tables for two is well on its way to being a banquette, given the tiny gaps between them; we sat in a draft by the door to avoid this. Somehow La Giaconda, by contrast, has managed to orient their tables so you are rarely cheek by jowl, and Arbutus is actually laid out like a proper restaurant.
If I understand Russell Norman's theory of no bookings correctly, it's that restaurants like this are intended not as a destination but as a neighbourhood joint. On the basis of my experience, that's exactly the right label for 10 Greek Street.
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