Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10 Greek Street, Soho


There are some people, amongst both bloggers and professional critics, who like playing the role of contrarian. They'll be the first to call out any given foodie trend as having jumped the shark (usually before most of the rest of us have even heard of it), will delight in posting the first negative review of a universally adored restaurant just to see what kind of reaction they can provoke, and will huff and puff and roll their eyes at any indication that anything so utterly tedious as a consensus is forming about where to eat or drink.


Which is all fine, of course - it wouldn't do if we were all the same. And perhaps there is something rather depressingly sheep-like about watching the same group of people falling over each other to lavish praise on the latest burger joint or trendy Dalston roof-top popup; one of the side-effects of there being so many food blogs knocking around these days is that if you are trying to follow them (or, God help you, if you have a professional interest in doing so) you will see the same names and personalities being frothed over again and again. I can see how that might be annoying, even if as one of the people most likely to be doing the frothing (as it were), I'm in no position to judge.


But love it or loathe it, consensus exists for a reason. There may not be any such thing as an objectively perfect place that literally anyone would love, but if somewhere gets a good review in the Metro, or your favourite food blog, or even from your best friend, chances are you're going to like it too. There would be no food blogs or food critics or restaurant guides of any kind if our preferences weren't shared to some degree with other fellow humans; after all, essentially we all want the same things from wherever we decide to spend our dinner money - good food, good value and somewhere nice to enjoy it. Consensus may be boring, it may occasionally be quite irritating, but there's no better way of choosing somewhere to eat.

With all that in mind, then, I was thoroughly expecting to enjoy everything about 10 Greek Street. The consensus (there's that word again) was clear in its favour, from the short list of attractive and accessible dishes, to the bright room populated by obliging staff, to the apparently very reasonable wine list that those more knowledgeable than me about such things (that would be more or less everyone then) declared one of the best in town. So what went wrong?


There was certainly nothing wrong with the house bread, which was very good indeed, particularly a lovely crusty focaccia. This was presented with the glorious words "are you OK with tap water?", and for no supplementary cover charge either, so we were off to a cracking start. But I'm afraid once the food proper started arriving, things went downhill. The razor clams in my starter, for example, each came complete with a huge brown bladder of un-purged fish waste, which was pretty unpleasant. Why they'd gone to all the trouble of properly shelling broad beans but not bothering to remove the gritty sacs of clam guts was a bit of a mystery. I'm all for rustic presentations but I draw the line at being asked to eat shit.


I realise complaining of pork belly being "too fatty" is inviting criticism, but this was hard work to eat. Perhaps a stronger sauce would have made it more palatable, or longer slower cooking to render off more of the wobbly fat, but to be honest I'm not sure. All I know is, the pork was piggy jelly accompanied by half decent vegetables and cost a whacking £19. A friend's ricotta-filled courgette flower was mealy and unsatisfying; no better than the pork although it was £5 cheaper.


With no wine, the bill for two (two courses each) came to £49. Service wasn't included, so we quite happily added on £6; although the food was pretty uneven, we couldn't complain about the front of house. But it was a total that still asked too much for what was pretty sloppy cooking, and I can think of better ways of spending this kind of money on lunch, not least Duck Soup around the corner on Dean Street which has an altogether more skilful set of hands in the kitchen. So, for once on this usually consensus-happy blog, I find myself playing the part of the contrarian. 10 Greek Street has little but praise from anyone I've ever spoken to who's been there, and yet here I am having to leave it a rather mediocre review. Ah well, plenty more clams in the sea.

5/10

10 Greek Street on Urbanspoon

14 comments:

Poke said...

Quite a large part of 10 Greek Street's appeal is its winelist which may just be the best value list in London. Having been a few times and eaten from the bar snacks and mains menu, I've found it to be uneven but generally good, sometimes excellent.

Agreed that Duck Soup is a better option for food but you pay more for wines of equal quality. Both seem to operate under 'wine bars as restaurants' umbrella- see also Terroirs, Soif etc. So depending on what you feel like on the night, I reckon both are good options. If you visit again, hopefully the food will be better and you can hit up the winelist.

Paul Hart said...

That pork looks pretty tasty to me. I quite like the fat, wobbly, chewy, I'll take it any old way. Probably wouldn't be very hungry following fish poop but hey ho...

Dinnerathon said...

Interesting that your fall back was Duck Soup - I probably had my least favourite meal of the year there a while back - cold and bloody lamb served after an hour wait. Let's agree that the consensus is not always right...

Cuntiness said...

Render, the term used to describe the process of turning pig fat into lard. Not anything that one would do to a pork belly. Please refrain from using words the meaning of which you don't understand, actually please refrain from commenting on any sort of cooking related processes as it's clear you have no fucking clue what goes on behind the doors through which waiters bring your feed.
I'm calling this your first warning, should you fail to heed it, I'm going to come round to your house and urinate into your milk so you can have some idea of the kind of nasty taste your ignorant musings leave in my mouth.

Chris Pople said...

Cuntiness: I must say I'm disappointed. One two counts - firstly that I'm not deemed important enough for a full cuntiness post, and secondly that, on this occasion at least, you appear to be completely wrong:

Render tr.v.: To reduce, convert, or melt down (fat) by heating.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/render

How embarrassing for you. Are you losing your touch? Is all that masturbating with your own faeces finally affecting your critical abilities? Will you have to crawl back under the menopausal rock you came from? I can hardly be bothered to wait and find out.

gina said...

To be fair to both of you, Chris and Cuntiness, I think I'm right in saying that lard is rendered pork fat, ie the solidified molten fat....

Anonymous said...

Menopausal? Is Cuntiness a woman?

Chris Pople said...

gina: I didn't say that 'render' didn't *also* mean the process of turning pig fat into lard, just that the way I used the word was perfectly OK too.

Anon: It says it is, so I'm just playing along.

Lizzie Mabbott said...

They didn't actually say that it was pork 'belly', just pork so even if you didn't like fat (FREAK) you wouldn't have liked that.

I loved my starter, but not my main and that's what happened last time I went and it puts me off from going back; the inconsistency of it.

Ed said...

I thought much of the food was mediocre and a touch overpriced when I went when people were raving about it back in March.

Not removing the stomach is poor and consistent with some of the lazy prep evident during my visit.

Shame, I kind of want to like the place.

Alice Thompson said...

I find this honest review of 10 Greek Street, Soho really helpful. I have heard mostly raving reviews of the place. I have wanted to pay a visit but I don't think I will now. My money is better spent elsewhere.

Richard said...

I've also had stomach gunk not removed at Jose...maybe it's supposed to be a textural thing: sweet, sublime meat and...er...grittiness?

Mzungu said...

Cannot be bothered with this place, tried to eat there once, but after waiting for that magical call to let us know our table was ready, but alas it never came from the stuck up front of house guy who could tell he hated his job and didn't give a shit. So if they do not want my money, then I'm not gonna go and beg to give it to them, but after reading many more or less reviews I'm glad.

Nicky Richmond said...

I was also expecting much sublime-ness, having been told it was the DB's by people I rate. I found it simply ok. I was wondering whether it was that big sell thing -like when someone goes on about a fabulous film and you don't rate it. But no, because I liked Dabbous, despite all the hype. Good review.