Quick(ish) Greek Lunch

I don’t go to The Real Greek for a while and then I go not just once, but go again real quick.

I had actually intended to have pizza from Bella Vista down by Bristol Bridge, but they were really busy and there was going to be a long wait. I had enjoyed my recent visit so decided to go for their lunch deal again.

As before there was a warm welcome from the staff and this time I chose to sit inside. The Lunch Menu is a fixed price at £8.50, where you can choose between a Greek Trio or a Greek Plate or a Souvlaki Wrap & Side. This time I went with the trio of dishes.

I had the warm flatbread with houmous and taramasalata. A nice starter, though I should have asked for it to all come at once rather than separately. If I had chosen one of the other ramekins available, such as tzatziki, I would like to have that along with the main.

The middle of the trio was Loukaniko beef and pork sausage. A traditional Greek beef and pork sausage, chargrilled and sprinkled with oregano.

Loukaniko beef and pork sausage

I’ve had similar dishes before and really enjoyed them, this was a tasty dish, strong flavours and a really meaty experience. It was served with smoked chilli relish, which I didn’t really like, I found it somewhat harsh and overpowering.

The final choice was the Aegean Slaw, thinly shredded cabbage, carrot, red and green peppers, with an olive oil dressing. I was slightly annoyed that the Loukaniko sausage was already accompanied by a reasonable portion of the Aegean Slaw, so I got extra slaw. If I had know this I might have chosen a different final choice. This was nice, fresh and crunchy.

The service was excellent, and it was a pleasant lunchtime experience with some great food, great value and nice environment.

Go Greek (again)

The Real Greek

It’s been a while since I was last at The Real Greek and I have been meaning to make a return visit for a while. Well looking for a place to eat and sit, even though it was a Thursday with the Temple Quay market been very tempting, I with a couple of friends decided to visit The Real Greek.

There was a warm welcome and what with the music playing inside, we asked to sit outside. Now outside was a weird thing as we were inside Cabot Circus, a shopping centre in the heart of Bristol. Even though technically it was inside the shopping centre, the way Cabot Circus has been designed and built, it’s more of a covered shopping area, in some places you can see sky above you and the whole place is open to the elements. So even though we were outside the restaurant, there was a glass roof above us. Having said all that, once you were sat down, it didn’t feel like you were in the heart of a shopping centre, it felt more like you were in a street cafe sitting outside watching the world go by, without the cars and scooters you would probably find in Greece.

It was really nice that a carafe of water (as in free tap water) was provided without us needing to ask. The last time I went I said

The Real Greek has a great lunchtime menu, and if I visit again I will probably choose from that and it looks like great value. 

So I went to have a look this time at the lunch menu, though I was still somewhat tempted by the hot meze choices of grilled octopus and the lamb cutlets that I had on the previous visit.

The Lunch Menu is a fixed price at £8.50, where you can choose between a Greek Trio or a Greek Plate or a Souvlaki Wrap & Side.

The Lunch Menu

The trio’s are fun coming on an afternoon tea style rack with the starter on the top, the main in the middle and the accompaniment on the bottom. Well I think it should arrive like that. Both times I have been, the dishes have been mixed around… The trio is also a great choice if you are vegan, as there are plenty of vegan choices available.

I went with the Halloumi Greek Plate which was served with saffron rice, a Greek salad, tzatziki and warm flatbread.

Halloumi Greek Plate

The halloumi was very nice, grilled, but not overcooked. The interesting texture, saltiness and flavour was balanced with the vibrant Greek salad comprising peppers, tomatoes, feta and lettuce. I enjoyed the flatbread which was soft and fresh.

Overall I really enjoyed the plate of food in a pleasant environment (and great company).

I think I will go again.

Babs: A little Mediterranean treasure in the heart of Glasgow

Occasionally I find myself in Glasgow with a 9pm flight home, most times I end up at the Airport wondering why I am eating there, as it is too often over-priced and not very good.

The last time this happened to me in Glasgow I decided that rather than do my usual, I would try and find something to eat in the centre of Glasgow. There are lots of choices and I did spend a little time wandering up and down West Nile Street. I did consider a few options, French, Mexican, but in the end the look of Babs intrigued me. A upmarket looking kebab place.

Founded and led by the hugely ambitious team behind award winning ‘Bread Meats Bread’, ‘Babs will strive to create great street food dishes that make the most of seasonal and ethical produce, while respecting kebab’s culinary Greek, Turkish and Levantine heritage. So please relax, enjoy and welcome to ‘Babs Family!

There was a warm friendly welcome as I entered and I was given a choice of where to sit, which was nice. The place reminded me of the restaurants I visited when on holiday on Greek islands in the early 2000s.

The menu looked great, but what had tempted me in over other places on the street, was the Lamb Shish Babs. Described as severed chunks of sumac-rubbed lamb grilled over coals. Served on a flatbread on a bed of a sweet pepper and carrot puree and tzatziki; topped with grilled peppers and house pickles.

Lamb Shish Babs

I went with a side order of skinny fries. I was introduced to these at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and really like them as a side dish.

The lamb was perfectly cooked, beautifully tender, great smokey flavour. I really enjoyed the accompaniments that came with it. A real nice mix of things that didn’t overpower the lamb.

Whilst writing this article I noticed that the menu had changed since I visited, but even then the new one looks just as interesting.

Great Greek Food

I am quite surprised by the turnover of restaurants in Cabot Circus. The branch of Cafe Rouge closed and was replaced by a Five Guys burger place. La Tasca, the Spanish tapas bar was shut down and the location became a Wagamama.

The Chimmi-Changa restaurant which I remembering visiting once, has recently closed and has been replaced with a new Greek place, The Real Greek. I did quite like the Chimmi-Changa concept, but having eaten there once, and rarely if ever having lunchtime specials, it wasn’t a place I ever went to again. If other people were thinking like me, not surprised it closed.

Obviously the whole place has been refurbished and has more of a New England feel to the place then a Greek taverna. There is a lot of blue coloured wood. It’s calm and welcoming.

The Real Greek

The Real Greek has a great lunchtime menu, and if I visit again I will probably choose from that and it looks like great value. Looking over the main menu, they have a range of hot and cold meze dishes. I had two dishes, the grilled kalamari and the lamb cutlets. I had considered going with one of the lunchtime specials, but really wanted to eat squid and lamb, as they are two of my favourite foods and also are considered Greek specialities. They weren’t on the lunch menu, but the meze dishes are still good value for money.

The menu describes the lamb as grilled lamb cutlets, served with lentils and minted Greek yoghurt.

grilled lamb cutlets, served with lentils and minted Greek yoghurt

Though advertised as a meze dish this was quite a substantial plate of food. As well as three grilled tender lamb cutlets, they were arranged on a bed of tasty lentils. The flavour was great and really tasty.

The Real Greek describe the grilled kalamari as “Our own unique version, using the freshest squid and a sticky Greek honey and paprika marinade.”

The Real Greek describe the grilled kalamari as “Our own unique version, using the freshest squid and a sticky Greek honey and paprika marinade.”

I think you can tell a lot about a restaurant on how they cook squid. The dish looked interesting and not quite how I imagined. The squid was tender and tasty, the marinade wasn’t overpowering and enhanced the dish.

Overall I really enjoyed the food, it was fresh, tasty and looked great. The service was really good, friendly and welcoming without being overpowering.