Yet another new opening in Soho, this fine little eatery not only has an imaginative name, but also some impressive pedigree thanks to head chef Cameron Emirali’s migration from The Wapping Project and manager Luke Wilson’s move from The Ambassador, via Liberty Wines.
Right in the midst of Soho, amongst a plethora of less salubrious venues, 10 Greek Street looks quite the understated part from the street, with a simple matte black and windowed exterior offering views into a restaurant that looks good, if ever so slightly Soho-by-numbers. The requisite white tiles are there, as is the brushed wooden floor, the hanging industrial lighting and the large chalkboards showing off the day’s goods. It does, though, get a little more interesting towards the back of the venue, with bar stools definitely the plum spots thanks to some up close and personal views of the busy open kitchen.
Evenings seem as busy as most places around these parts, with Soho strollers mixing uncomfortably with those foodie folk desperate to revel in the kudos of getting to these places before everyone else. Lunchtimes are much quieter, with tables taken up by media types talking various degrees of nonsense, as well as those people put off by not being able to book in the evening – something you can do during the day. Staff are incredibly pleasant and seem to have a good handle on reverse psychology: their loathness to up-sell is so brilliantly refreshing that you might end up rewarding them by doing their job for them, or by giving them a hefty tip, at the very least.
It’s the kind of place that people will probably want to return to, so a daily changing menu not only keeps things very seasonal indeed, but also ensures there’s enough variety to keep those fickle Soho sorts entertained. The predominantly modern-European dishes won’t exactly break many boundaries but the quality is impressive nonetheless, with Emirali’s good understanding of flavours evident throughout.
Smoked mackerel, beetroot and horseradish (£6.50) offers a hint of the kind of simple, unfussy dishes you can expect, with razor clams, sobrassada and parsley suggesting that it’s not merely a menu that uses provenance for provenance's sake – the sobrassada (a Majorcan cured sausage) offers a twist on the more classic clam/chorizo combination; one that certainly works.
A char-grilled leg of Brecon lamb (£17) is cooked to a perfect pink and full of flavour, and served with al dente sprouting broccoli, a little anchovy to offer some bite, and some unannounced roasties that complete what’s actually a pretty hefty serving. A similarly well-cooked and generous cut of silver mullet (£16) is served crispy (and impressively seasoned) skin side up with raisins, pine nuts and some surprisingly pale romanesco that tastes absolutely fine. Both are big enough for sides to be avoided, but a perfectly adequate leaf salad (£3) or more of those duck fat roast potatoes (£4) are pretty good companions.
If you’re staying for dessert then a clementine brûlée (£5) certainly sounds intriguing but it’s the apple pie with chestnut honey and mascarpone (£5) and the quince and almond tart (£5) that will have most tongues wagging, with both offering more evidence of those pretty dab hands in the kitchen.
It’s clear that Wilson knows his onions when it comes to the grape, and the wines offer just as much of a reason to make your way down Greek Street as the food. There’s some remarkable value to be had on a list that kicks off at £16 for a crisp and peachy 2010 Les Vignes de l’Eglise, Vermentino from Languedoc, before rising slowly up to a light and fruity 2008 Pinot Noir from Alain Hudelot-Noellatat in Vosena-Romanée at £39. Throw in the fact that very nearly every option is available by the glass and carafe, and oenophiles will no doubt be getting themselves in a right tizzy as they cast their widening eyes over what's on offer.
The Last Word
It might be pitching itself against big boys like Arbutus just around the corner but thanks to good food and excellent wine, 10 Greek Street certainly has enough about it to succeed.