You can’t deny that vegetarianism and veganism is gaining in popularity and with those changes in diet comes a choice by restaurants. Cater to it or ignore it. Thankfully The Real Greek, a popular chain serving authentic Greek dishes, have decided to embrace it and have launched a vegan menu of their own.
I was invited to bring a friend and try it for myself. I am in no way a vegan and my friend keeps to the veggie thing when eating at home with her BF but, we are both keen gastronomic adventurers (read greedy piglets) and will give anything a go. The restaurant itself is bright and fun, the staff are warm and friendly and the vegan menu was already imprinted in my mind so we were ready to meat-free feast.
The menu is split into hot and cold mezze options and also includes falafel and jackfruit wraps. We decided to order portions of melitzanosalata (aubergine, shallots, lemon and garlic dip), the “no feta” greek salad, chickpea filo triangles, grilled aubergine, gigandes plaki (beans cooked in tomato sauce), dolmades and musakka. We also had a round of olives and flatbread because when in…Greece.
We sunk two very nice, large glasses of greek wine and were presented with our cold mezze. They very cleverly serve the dishes on something identical to a cake stand, I wanted to hate it, but being left with room to actually eat rather than playing a dangerous game of dominos with 100 dishes, I found myself impressed with the ingenuity and perturbed that everywhere doesn’t do this. The melizanosalata dip was punchy with raw garlic and shallots with the lemon juice cutting through the liberal amount of oil used to bind the ingredients together. The no feta greek salad arrived with feta. No matter, it may have been a miscommunication and we both very much like cheese. The dolmades were a good size and very substantially filled with plenty of dill.
Soon the hot mezze arrived and we were enveloped in the aromas of garlic and herbs. we especially enjoyed the earthy and sweet grilled aubergine and the chickpea triangles, which were akin to samosas. They were crisp with a filling seasoned with cumin and turmeric, these took a while too cool but waiting was a painful experience. We also loved the gigandes plaki, plenty of beans sat in a thick stew of garlic and tomato and was perfect for using up the last of the flatbreads for liberal mopping. After asking for the leftovers to be boxed up, we opted for desserts.
Deciding to branch out from the vegan menu we both decided to go for the greek custard tart served with ice cream. We were warned there is a 10 – 15 minute wait for this, we decided that was fine (we had a lot to digest) and enjoyed a coffee whilst we waited. When the dessert arrived something wasn’t…right. It looked ok but the taste was off, eventually my eating partner realised it was lamb. We had been served a lamb parcel that had been topped with ice cream. The waiter, bless him took them away immediately and returned around 15 minutes later with the correct dessert, funnily enough, the two food items looked exactly the same, I would perhaps gently suggest that the fridge labelling might be improved. The custard tarts themselves were lovely but if we were vegetarian that would have been enough to really ruin what was a good night.
Despite the mishap, we were otherwise very impressed with what was on offer for vegans at this chain restaurant, too often are they left with a sad stuffed pepper or something with the cheese left off. You can find their vegan menu here.
*Please note this meal was offered free of charge but did not affect my opinion. The Real Greek did not see of influence this review before posting*