We'd walked past Lemonia before and it always looks inviting, very busy so it's obviously popular, so thought we'd try it. I booked for 8.45 pm on a Saturday and we had to queue to get in but they cleared the crowd pretty quickly, some people being turned away.
It's pretty noisy with several parties, birthdays and family events all through the dining rooms. Decor is traditional, the tables and chairs look as if they've been in place for the 30 years it's been open, and we were seated next to an old fireplace. Service functions well, with mature staff who know what they're doing and have seen it all.
It was a good evening and we enjoyed it, but had to think why it's so very popular. It's an institution, people have been coming here for years, it's family friendly, and the meze – which most people seemed to be having – is great for sharing and at just under £20 per head has to be one of the the best deals in Primrose Hill.
We didn't go for meze as it's often too much food. Specials of the day included several grilled fish which sounded good but we opted for the main menu. We had hummus, grilled halloumi and spanakopitta to start with warm pitta bread, all very good and appeared rapidly. The main course of slow cooked lamb with tomatoes and herbs was generous and very good, the grilled quail less so, not the juicy succulent little birds I'd hoped for but a bit dry, probably overcooked or kept hot a bit too long. Side orders of rice, mixed salad and grilled courgettes were fine. For dessert we shared a baklava and a yogurt with honey and nuts, lovely floral honey and crispy pastry offset by the creamy yogurt worked for us.
It's a casual place, relaxed but efficient. Food is good and there are no surprises. Next time we fancy sharing meze with friends we may well come here.