Eat Here: The Real Greek, Muswell HillBy Angelica Malin
I’m not normally one for a chain restaurant. If I’m honest, they remind me too much of my university days when my mum would take me to Jamie’s Italian as a “special treat”, and we’d always leave feeling wholly unsatisfied, having filled up on the bread basket and those quite weird olives on ice. But times are a’changing, people, and the chains are doing something really great things – Pizza Express have a vegan pizza, Wahaca serves up seriously tasty Mexican food and you just can’t beat a Bill’s breakfast on the weekend. So, putting my reservations on hold for a moment, I hopped down to new The Real Greek in Muswell Hill to sample their offering. I was really surprised by the offering – here’s why you should give it a go, too:
The location couldn’t be more handy; located on the lively Muswell Hill Broadway, surrounded by boutiques and health food shops, The Real Greek has a real neighbourhood feel. Perfect for long, lazy weekend lunches, or trips out with the family (note: it’s very family-friendly, with a special kids menu), the restaurant is relaxed, informal and perfect for a quick bite, too. They’ve got an all-day menu to see you through, including a hot drink and cake deal, party menu, Greek wraps, lunch and dinner. The vibe is fun, friendly and lively – perfect for a big group at Christmas, too.
It’s a really communal vibe at The Real Greek, so the best way to order is lots of little bits and pieces to share. The presentation is lovely – they serve all the mezze on an afternoon tea style display, so everyone can dive in. We nibbled the delicious Greek olives as we decided what to order – which are plump and tasty – and enjoyed their selection of crunchy crudités. We shared a range of mezze delights; their houmous was delicious, a daily homemade blend of chickpeas, rich in tahini and delicately spiced with cumin and fresh chilli, it’s really the star of the show here.
We also enjoyed the dolmades, stuffed with rice, tomato and fresh herbs, and the Gigandes Plaki, hearty giant beans in a slow-cooked tomato sauce, served warm. Both dishes could do with being a little hotter, but generally, they were lovely. For something more substantial, we tried the halloumi and vegetable skewer, which is fresh and tasty, served with a minted yogurt, and the grilled aubergine with garlic tomato sauce. Both dishes were a little heavy on the salt, but perhaps that’s just Greek food for you!
The lamb meatballs with Greek yogurt are really rather delicious – the little touches of onions and paprika were a tasty addition. Of course, you can’t miss the Greek salad in a restaurant such as this – theirs is touch notch, with hearty chunks of tomatoes, feta, peppers and olive oil. Delicious. For dessert, we kept things simple and opted for the Greek yogurt with walnuts and syrup. This traditional Greek dessert is a light, sweet end to your meal, and one you can’t miss.
They’ve got a decent selection of red and white wine, as well as more traditional Greek drinks, including Metaxa, Alpha Omega beer and Ouzo. We went for the fresh lemonade, which was refreshing and delightful.
The Real Greek is perfect if you’re looking for an affordable, tasty weeknight meal with friends. While the food isn’t exactly flawless, on the whole, the food is full of flavour, and a fun experience. Next time you’re in Muswell Hill, I say give it a go.