Open Mon–Fri midday–3pm and 5pm–11pm, Sat and Sun midday–11pm
On an icy winters night Earls Court provides precious little in the way of warm welcomes and reasons to stop; on a blisteringly hot day things aren’t much better. Once you’ve navigated past the crowds of unbelievably loud and drunk antipodeans, decided that the pubs all look a bit ‘meh’ and cheated death while crossing the road, the desire to stay and explore has waned.
In stark contrast to all of this is Dimitri Karonis, the owner of As Greek As It Gets, who greeted me and the glamorous brunette I had hoodwinked into joining me for dinner like we were old friends (the kind that are glad to see each other). His little Greek eaterie is a stylish and sleek joint, all dark and enticing, split over two levels and simply decorated. The walls and menus are adorned with monochrome photos of Dimitri’s family from the ’60s, giving it an authentic Mediterranean family vibe.
We kicked off with a bottle of Moschofilero Mantinia (£25), a light and crisp dry white from the Peloponnese, along with the ubiquitous pitta and dip selection (£6.20). Warm, plump pitta came with big pots of creamy tzatziki, smokey melitzanosalata (aubergine), excellent houmous and a well executed taramasalata. However the calamari (£6.10) was ever so slightly bland and needed a lot of lemon and pepper to get it going.
Dimitri had probably had enough of watching us choose between tyropitakia (£4.90) or feta tylixti (£5.95), so graciously let us sample both. The tyropitakia are just filo pastry with hot cheese – nice, but no more. However the tylixti were stunningly good. Crispy, hot little parcels of salty feta drenched in gooey honey with a tiny kick of ouzo; all distinct flavours subtly combined to great effect. Alongside the fat salty slabs of halloumi (£5.60) we were now in Greek food nirvana.
For the main course the glamorous brunette went for xifias souvlaki (£14.95). These big square hunks of swordfish and peppers were deep in barbecue flavour and full of memories of summer, but served, disappointingly, with plain boiled rice. My arnaki lemonato (£14.95) consisted of succulent chunks of lamb in possibly the most opulent and rich lemony sauce I’ve ever tasted, along with proper buttery mashed potato; all amazingly moreish but I will need my cholesterol checked soon.
To finish off (literally finished us off) we had the house baklava (£3.95) topped with rose petals; deliciously light filo swamped in honey and pistachio with a glorious cinnamon kick. As well as the galaktoboureko (milk pie at £5.50); a delicately sweet slab of custard wrapped in crispy filo, and yet more honey.
Dimitri opened this place seven years ago after a bet with Simon Woodroffe, of Yo! Sushi fame, who said he wouldn’t be able to open a successful Greek restaurant in London. Judging by the packed restaurant and happy customers leaving, AGAIG does what it intends to do very well – bring quality and reasonably priced Greek food to Londoners.