Nick goes Greek in Kings Cross and finds a cheerful all-day eatery delivering crowd-pleasing food at a fair price.
This area of Kings Cross is full of eateries catering to refined upper middle class tastes plus, of course, all the wealthy locals many living in the rather utilitarian-looking flats above The Greek Larder. There’s lots of choice for those who can budget beyond Pret.
There are also the staff at Google’s HQ available as potential customers, although their canteen is apparently so good that few of the staff ever bother to eat outside and mingle with earth people.
The Greek Larder is really not at all what one might expect from a Greek place, not if one’s experience stems from holidays in Corfu as mine do. It’s a very modern place, all steel and glass, with a lofty ceiling giving a loft feel and no one is breaking plates or breaking into frenzied dance.
Although it’s an all day restaurant for the most part, it’s also a large deli too. You can buy fresh, tinned and dried Greek ingredients at one end as well as freshly made food to go from the chilled cabinets. Oh and Greek wine, don’t snigger at the back it’s not all rotten Retsina anymore.
The tables are a bit small, three of us are somewhat cramped, but then it’s not a place to linger over long meals, the aim is to feed people pretty fast. So we order quickly off what is a large menu.
We have a range of meze to gear up for a meat platter. The taramasalata, that curse of spell-checker, is not the irradiated pink scar tissue of shop bought stuff, nor as salty. It’s light and creamy and very good and I do like the bread. Not the heavy plod of pitta but crisp, thin herby triangles sheened with oil and dotted with dried herbs.
Octopus mobbed by chickpeas was butter soft and set off by sharp little capers, smooth tahini and manouri cheese, a semi-soft cream cheese that, rather like ricotta, can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Also good were the stuffed vine leaves, not the sour, tough, things you usually get served in Greek restaurants with leaves like shoe leather, but delicate wraps topped with surprising slivers of smoked eel.
And then we had a meat (s)platter – lamb sausages, cutlets, tongue – veal escalope and chicken all piled high and bookended by generous portions of galotiri (a curd cheese of feta, yoghurt and milk) and the more well known, but none the less welcome, tzatziki.
I don’t think I got any of the tongue, makes a change, but the rest was properly and juicily cooked, especially the cutlets, with only the veal a little on the tough side. Nice as it all was though, as usual I rather wished I had stuck to the mezes. The whole idea of massive meat consumption (Meatopia) and’meat sweats’ seems to me to be a rather unhealthy craze that millennials (mostly) are going through and will regret later in life, when their arteries resemble the Blackwall Tunnel after a lorry has broken down.
We shared some hard cheeses which were okay, but Greece is never going to be a leading producer anyway, which came with unusual barley rusks and a rather unctuous coffee mixed in with ice cream that I could have eaten a bucket of.
It seems that when it opened The Greek Larder got a bit of a lashing from some quarters, but as far as I, and presumably the editor of the Ob’s Food Section, am concerned it seems a very welcome addition to the area’s large choice of cheerful food joints and a bit of an eye-opener on what Greek food can really be.