Two previous restaurants founded by The Greek Larder’s owner Theodore Kyriakou, Livebait and The Real Greek were Peter Morrell’s favourites, would this new venture be a hat-trick?
I have been eating Theodore Kyriakou’s food for more than twenty years, first at Livebait in Waterloo and subsequently The Real Greek in various locations. What marked the food out was the quality of the ingredients, the innovative menus and the good service.
Fast forward and I was recently sitting in Theodore’s new restaurant, The Greek Larder, in the on-trend Kings Cross area. The new venue is bright and airy with an open kitchen that lets you see the food being prepared and outside there is terrace, with views over the Regent’s canal, for alfresco dining (lack of polar vortices permitting). On the night we were there it was buzzing with a smart crowd of diners.
There is also a deli counter for take away food and wine. Theodore is as much an importer of Greek wine and food as he is restaurateur so the ingredients and drinks all have an impeccable provenance. With all this knowledge he is the ideal organiser of the annual London Greek Wine Festival.
There is a good selection of pre-dinner drinks including Greek themed cocktails featuring spirits like Metaxa brandy and ouzo, and interestingly a list of Greek mainstream and craft beers.
We sipped on Fix beer and nibbled pungent marinated olives and fresh Greek open textured bread dipped in olive oil as we took a look at the menu. There are individual and mixed mezes, souvlakis, mains and sides. The individual meze have some very attractive options like octopus and chickpea stifado and grilled pigeon breast. Our final choice was the meze platter to share which gave us a chance to taste seven separate dishes.
When the platter arrived it was well presented with generous portions. There was taramosalata, htipiti which is whipped feta cheese with roasted red peppers, tzatziki, fava (yellow split pea puree), gigandes or giant beans, skordalia, a mashed potato dip and stuffed vine leaves. The overall impression of the food was of uplifting freshness and we both loved all the contrasting flavours and textures that the dishes had to offer. I particularly liked the skordalia and my wife’s favourite was the tzatziki.
For the mains my wife had selected the monkfish souvlaki and I ordered duck. The fish was excellent, it had been marinated and was served with tomato, Santorini caper leaves, fava and chips. The monkfish was moist and meaty, the chips had a good crunch to them and there were some unique flavour profiles in the dish which my wife really enjoyed.
My roast Aylesbury duck was very tender and was full of flavour and cooked to perfection, it was served with a chickpea and pine nut pilaf and strained yogurt. Again contrasting textures and a range of flavours made this dish a good choice.
The wine list is very strong and features award winning bottles from last year’s London Greek Wine Festival. This not your run of the mill list but an exciting oenological journey around the Greek mainland and its island featuring many native grape varieties. There is a bewildering array from fruit laden pungent reds through to elegant aromatic whites and even sparklers. For some reason on the night we had a craving for a retsina, so our wine pairing for the evening was the retsina noblis by Gaia Wines using the roditis grape grown around Corinth. This was a fresh and crisp white and although the pine resin was evident it didn’t dominate allowing zesty lemon and floral herb aromas to shine through.
We just about had room for dessert and shared baklava, layers of chopped nuts and filo pastry bound together with honey, the twist was a dollop of mountain tea flavoured ice cream on top which made the entire pudding decadently delicious.
So by the end of the meal, after we had enjoyed the quality of the ingredients, the innovative menu and the good service, I was a big fan of The Greek Larder, Theodore Kyriakou had scored a hat-trick!
The Greek Larder
1 York Way
London N1C 4AS
0203 780 2999
Also look out for the next London Greek Wine Festival. The 2018 dates are soon to be announced and more information can be found at www.londongreekwinefestival.co.uk