Potted duckMore pictures
Bookings! Love them or hate them they seem to be a big issue in the restaurant world at the moment. Get there at the right time and having a no-booking policy is perfect for a casual dinner around town, get there at the wrong time and having to miss out on that dish you’ve been savouring all day for is enough to send even the pickiest eater down to the supermarket for a Ginsters. 10 Greek Street is one of a few recent Soho openings that are very much into no-bookings, have a reasonably small daily changing menu, a simple dining area with friendly chatty staff – perfect for a Soho lunch from all accounts no, that’s what the reviews in the papers say…
I say that they don’t do bookings – turns out that actually is a lie as they do book tables for lunch though I don’t think many places in town would so happily move a table for 2pm to 12.45 as happily as they did. The days menu is held on a whiteboard on the wall and from a list of fresh summery starters (mainly all cold dishes) I went for potted duck with apricot jelly and cornichons. There were no surprises when it came – a nice sized mound of course duck meat topped with a 90% set jelly (the 10% it lost gave it a hint of juice, similar to a really rich chicken stock you see chefs use) that gave added moisture and a sweet kick to the rich deep tasting duck. Just one piece of bread and a fairly decent portion of meat had me wishing I had an extra slice but more lacking was a knife – a fact easily hidden by the manner in which the cutlery is held in a recess on the table but something that even after asking we never received. Thankfully we had a shit load of spoons so I improvised. The duck was what it was – it didn’t get me overly excited but neither did it have me wishing I had ordered something else, it was the kind of good simple rustic cooking I expected.
Next up we had a shared starter of the pork knuckle, a bit of pig not normally given much praise but a piece that if cooked right (the Germans are extremely good at this) gives you everything good about pig (crackling, juicy red meat and a bone to eat the meat from) in one cut. Again the presentation was simple, meat placed upon a trivet of the accompanying side dishes and topped with fresh looking green beans and herbs, serving the meat is left up to you and the joy as you dig in your provided knives and hunks of meat just fall away off the bone is a thing of glee. Personally I think they missed a trick in not getting some crackle on at least some of the outer skin (which as it was delivered to us was unfortunately an inedible salty sliver) but the meat, slightly salted with the brine it was boiled in with the potatoes, beans and some deliciously garlic’ed greens was good stuff and again a perfect dish for a muggy summers day.
I can certainly see how the full time critics like this place – good simple cooking of hearty ingredients for a good price in an area that to me has always felt synonymous with over priced places charging extra to be able to keep up with astronomical rent hikes. I can also see where a few of the food bloggers I read are able to pick holes through all the glowing praise. The food was good but there were a few things that could have been improved fairly easily; and something that I felt when I dined there was that while the food was good it was the kind of thing that I’ve been eating in places like the Anchor and Hope or The Canton Arms for AGES now, it didn’t feel like an amazingly unique or original concept.
I liked the 10 Greek Street experience though and with a daily changing menu have no qualms about returning as the seasons change to see how the cooking evolves. Everyone mentions the wine list and yes, it’s extremely good value – the most expensive bottle was £40 and that was for a magnum of the stuff!Tweet