Last week, a group of us descended on the newly opened The Real Greek* restaurant to try all our stomachs could fit. The Real Greek has recently opened in the new West Quay Watermark development in the centre of Southampton. The restaurant serves a delicious selection of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine full of flavour and variety. This is a place that was very much needed in the city and boy, am I glad it's here.
Each of the dishes are inspired by the many cultures and influences which now shape modern Greek cuisine. Eating in Greece is an experience, something you take your time with while spending it with family and friends, having lived in Spain on a diet of tapas, it's exactly how I like to eat. You can find The Real Greek on the lowest level of Watermark facing the old city walls. It is in the ideal location for spending lazy summer days eating feta dips and sipping on cocktails in the sun.
We were all welcomed into the restaurant with big smiles and the minute you step in you notice the warm atmosphere, friendly servers and beautifully set out restaurant. The white and blue of the decor makes you feel like you're stepping out onto the steps in Santorini. Everywhere around us, couples were enjoying fantastic looking food so we were all eager to order some yummy dishes to try.
After the gang had ordered their cocktails and I, a diet coke we all looked over the menu with our mouths watering. We were recommended to order three to four dishes per person so we all chose a bit of everything and the seven of us shared the dishes around the table with the cold mezes served first and the hot mezes following after. The Spicy Feta Dip (Htipiti) served with flatbread was a favourite with everyone as well as the Green Pea Fava which is mashed peas with olive oil and lemon. We also tried the Tiropitakia, filo pastry parcels with creamy leek, spinach and feta filling, Falafel and Tzatziki.
No sooner had we filled up on Spicy Feta Dip it was time for something hot and we ordered:
- Grilled Halloumi succulent grilled, squeaky cheese
- Greek Salad with tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, olives, red onion, feta and olive oil.
- Chicken Skewers with onions, peppers and lemon mayonnaise.
- Grilled Kalamari in a sticky Greek honey and paprika marinade.
- Med Chicken grilled rosemary marinated chicken thighs, served on top of mixed grilled vegetables.
- Loukaniko, a traditional Greek beef and pork sausage, chargrilled and sprinkled with oregano. Served with smoked chilli relish.
- Lamb Meatballs, handmade lamb patties grilled and topped with Greek yoghurt, tomato sauce, onions and sprinkled with paprika.
- Lamb Kefte, lamb, minced and marinated with aromatic Anatolian spices. Served with minted yoghurt.
I definitely think our eyes were bigger than our bellies because a lot of food was placed in front of us. All the time we were eating you could hear the satisfied murmurs around the table, the food was out of this world and we spent the majority of the evening talking about how we would be spending our evenings eating outside in the summer months. Arran and I are also heading back there this Friday for date night because we keep talking about the lamb meatballs.
Even though we managed to pack away quite a number of dishes, there was still room for dessert. We ordered four different desserts to try between us as we were all quite full but as we had heard the mousse was pretty spectacular, we had to see what it was all about. The Chocolate Mousse Cake was as incredible as expected and we also tried the Greek Yoghurt with walnuts and syrup as well as the Caramel & Pecan Cheesecake and Greek Filo Custard Pie. All the desserts we tried were so yummy and I can't wait to have one all to myself on Friday.
I have not stopped banging on about how fab The Real Greek is to anyone that will listen and it is one place I know I'll be spending a lot of time in. If you're in Southampton, you know what to do.
*Complimentary meal for the purpose of this review.