We’ll always try to keep our posts about independent businesses, but now and again a chain comes to town that we’re curious about and we get invited to the launch event (plus, let’s be honest, we all find ourselves in chains from time to time, so it’s handy to know what to expect).
The Real Greek has been hawking its Hellenic wares across the UK for a while now, but this is their first foray into Bristol, and their restaurant in Cabot Circus looks preeeetty swish:
Nice to see a big ol’ photo of Santorini up on the wall, plus some nice tiles and booths. I love sitting in a booth, I think it makes me feel safe or something. On the subject of seats, there are a lot of them, but the place doesn’t feel too cramped thanks to the heigh ceilings and white walls – some clever interior design, that.
The menu is split into hot/cold mezze, grilled mezze, souvlaki and salads. There’s also the option to order Filoxenia (£36 to share between two), where you get to create your own sharing platter from a selection of dishes. Most mezze dishes are around the £5-7 mark, with souvlaki weighing in at £6.25. So it’s not the cheapest option in Cabot, but it’s not the priciest either, and there are plenty of deals and offers to choose from and keep within different budgets.
Now, on to what we ate…
First up: DIPS. We opted for the spicy feta (£5), hummus and tzatziki (£4.75 each), along with dolmades (£5 – vine leaves stuffed with rice & herbs), and some very moreish grilled pitta. Good, simple start.
Next we moved onto the hot mezze, which arrived in these funky towering stacks – exciting stuff! We ordered the filo pastry meat pie (£6.50), grilled octopus (£7.50), lamb meatballs (£6.50), prawn saganaki (£7), chicken monastiraki (£6.50), grilled aubergine (£5), lamb kofte (£6) and calamari (£7). We were ordering between 3, but this would still have come to around £55 before we’d even ordered our drinks – so keep an eye to your price tally because it’s easy for it to rack up!
The Real Greek now has a full vegan menu to choose from too, so that’s nice for you plant-based eaters!
Highlights were the lamb meatballs (good size, gorgeous thick sauce with feta, paprika and dill sprinkled over it for extra flavour), the grilled aubergine (my personal fave – the slices were just the right soft texture, smoky and acompanied by a tasty tomato sauce), the prawn saganaki and the lamb kofta which came with pickled cabbage and onion.
The other dishes were generally satisfying and good portion sizes, although the octopus and calamari could have done with more seasoning, and due to the amount of dishes we had to choose from, went cold and rubbery after a short time. One to delve into first next time (although I wouldn’t order the calamari again).
I’m not much of a white wine drinker, but the Cavino Ionos (£5.10 for a glass, £20 for a bottle) was reallly tasty. It was nicely sweet and peachy, almost like a less syrupy sweet dessert wine, very drinkable indeed. I wasn’t too keen on any of the reds we sampled as I found them a bit too dry, but then we did only ask for a sip of the two cheapest on the menu and I do love a bolshy red wine like a Rioja or Malbec usually, so that could be personal preference.
Speaking of which, the Greek coffee was a divisive one. It comes very thick and VERY strong – if you’ve had Turkish coffee before you’ll know what to expect. It’s definitely an acquired taste (I thought it tasted like soil).
Service was great throughout; attentive and helpful – they made plenty of great suggestions for wines, accompaniments and which dishes work together. They also weren’t too keen – it can be a bit off-putting if you’re getting asked every 10mins how your food is.
I can’t fault The Real Greek on the night – of course I’ve had better examples of the dishes in Greece, or made by Greek friends and family, but you don’t sling a slick mezze establishment in the middle of Cabot Circus to recreate the authentic taverna experience. It’s a flavoursome and fun place to grab a bite before a film (you get 25% off your bill if you have a valid cinema ticket, which isn’t too be sniffed at) or after hitting the shops.
It’s already jumped to the top of my list for where to eat in Cabot, and although that doesn’t put it anywhere near my top 20 places to eat in Bristol (or top 50, for that matter – but we do have A LOT of great indies), it’s definitely worthy of a visit if you’re hungry and nearby.
The Real Greek
84A Glass House
Disclaimer: This was a press launch event and so all dishes & drinks were complimentary, however we were not asked to send any copy in advance, and all opinions above are ours. Boom.