The Real Greek - Reading {Review}

Thursday 20 July 2017

Photo of the restaurant front
The Real Greek, Riverside Reading | via

It feels like it's been a long time since I went to a blogging event, in fact it's been about a year since my last one! However when I saw the invite for 'The Real Greek' a brand new restaurant on the riverside in Reading, I knew I had to attend. So I shot a message over to my friend Lisa over at United Cakedom, and thankfully she was totally up for being my plus one.

Tonia Buxton
The lovely Tonia Buxton | via
When we arrived we were seated and it wasn't long before we were greeted by the lovely Tonia Buxton, who pulled up a chair and began talking us through the menu. Tonia, for anyone who doesn't know, is THE woman to talk to about Greek food in the UK, she even presented a TV series called 'My Greek Kitchen', so we knew we were in good hands. Before this experience I had never actually eaten Greek food ever, a fact which Tonia was blown away by! She talked us through some of the staples of a Greek meal, before mentioning a special promotion they have at the moment with real Greek watermelons. They imported watermelons directly from Greece and have used them to create three special dishes that will only be available for a month, one of which was a very interesting combo of watermelon and feta which we we decided to try. Tonia even helped us place our first order in to the waitress, which I welcomed as I had no idea where to begin. She certainly made me feel very at ease, especially when I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the food, (spoiler alert: I loved it).

Small plates of food
Little plates all stacked up!
I must say one of the things I really liked the most about the food is that it is all small plates that you can share. So it means that if (like me) you are a little fussy sometimes you can order something with a friend that you can try, but you know they will eat if you don't enjoy it. Also the plates come stacked on these little stands kind of like how you'd expect afternoon tea to be served, which is very practical considering how many plates you are likely to order with the food being so delicious!

Our first round of dishes
From top left to bottom right: Flatbread, Tzatziki, Green Pea Fava, Watermelon and Feta.
We started off with some flatbread with various accompaniments including Houmous, Tzatziki and Green Pea Fava. Whilst I haven't really eaten Greek food before, I must admit that I had of course tried Houmous, I mean who hasn't? I enjoyed every single one of the dips with the flatbread, but I must say my favourite had to be the Tzatziki, it was so refreshing alongside the other dishes that we sampled later on in the meal. We did try hard not to immediately fill ourselves on all of the flatbread, but it was very hard not to with it right in front of us. Along with our flatbread came the watermelon and feta salad which was one of the specials. Honestly I'm not that big a fan of watermelon personally, so I knew this dish was never going to be a hit with me. I tried both the watermelon and feta on their own, and then together as intended. I can see why this dish was put together, it makes sense, the saltiness of the feta with the sweetness of the watermelon, they compliment each other well, but it just wasn't to my personal taste. If you are a big fan of sweet and salty combinations then this dish is definitely one for you. On the plus side this dish helped me try something brand new, Feta cheese! I know I can almost hear the gasps, I had never tried feta, I don't have a reason, I just hadn't. Now I have I can honestly say I will never look back...

Another point I absolutely must mention at this point is the service. I've never been to a restaurant with friendlier waiting staff, and they often anticipated our requests before we even asked. Lisa managed to drop her fork, and before we could even turn to ask for a clean one a member of staff was straight over to the table with a fresh one for her. I think they did an amazing job of striking the balance between being attentive but at the same time leaving us alone to enjoy our meal. I will certainly be comparing service everywhere else I go from now on to this experience.

Our second round of dishes
From top left to bottom right: Prawn Saganaki, Pork Belly, Falafel, Caramel and Pecan Cheesecake.
After we had overdone ourselves on the bread we had our other dishes delivered. I don't eat seafood but Lisa was very keen to try the prawns, which she said were delicious. I myself ordered the pork belly, a dish that I often enjoy at home, and also some falafel which was another Greek dish I had yet to try. I can hands down say that the pork belly was the best that I had ever eaten, and for me was the stand out dish of the evening. I've never had a pork belly the just melted like butter in my mouth, it was incredible. Lisa was laughing at me because I said I wanted to marry the pork belly, honestly I was only half joking, that's how good it was! The falafel was also delicious but unfortunately greatly overshadowed by the pork for me. What I liked the most about the falafel was that it was so crispy on the outside, but the inside was really soft and chewy, my favourite combination of textures in a single dish. We did also order some of the Med Chicken, (rosemary marinated chicken thighs), in a food induced haze, and when it arrived we struggled through it, and it didn't disappoint.

Finally somehow we managed to muster a bit of a second wind so that we could sample a dessert each. Lisa went for the Greek Filo Custart Pie, and I went for the Caramel and Pecan Cheesecake. Cheesecake for me is probably my favourite dessert and one I often default to as I know I am bound to like it. I am so glad I continued my pattern and settled on the cheesecake because it was delicious and also unlike any cheesecake I have ever had. Whilst the cheesecake itself was definitely sweetened I would say not as much as others I have tried, and as such the cream cheese was still detectable, which when paired with the sweet caramel was to die for. I have a very big sweet tooth and I can happily say that it was satisfied with this dessert. At the end of the meal when we were completely stuffed the staff even offered to box up the leftovers for us to take home, I let Lisa have them as I'm not a great fan of the same food the next day!

All in all I would consider my first real Greek dining experience a success, and I can't imagine having done it anywhere more perfect that at 'The Real Greek' in Reading. I had a fantastic time with some amazing company, and I couldn't recommend the food highly enough, especially if you've never had Greek before! Feel free to visit The Real Greek's website to see if they have a restaurant in your area... Also a massive thanks to my good friend Lisa of United Cakedom for keeping me company and helping me scoff the food!

** I was invited to review the restaurant and was giving this meal experience for free, however all opinions stated above are my own **
 photo signature_zpsdqnlsjzz.png

No comments:

Post a Comment