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10 Greek Street and the secret winelist

Some restaurants open quietly without the assistance of a frontal assault by the shock troops of restaurant PR. Every new opening generates an undercurrent of gossip (because that is the nature of gossip) but only rarely are the comments of reviewers and the Fooderati universally benign. 10 Greek Street has been open for several months now and continues to get a consistently good press. The only obvious niggle being grumbles about the “no booking” rule which applies in the evenings. In the kitchen is Cameron Emerali - recently at Wapping Food - and out front is Luke Wilson whose track record includes a stint with Liberty Wines and time spent at the Ambassador in Exmouth Market.
O.K., let’s get the curmudgeonly stuff out of the way. The tables are very close together. The other customers can be loud and young. The no bookings taken in the evening rule smarts a bit. But that’s it, everything else about this restaurant is pretty much spot on. And best of all is the secret wine list. The main wine list here is intelligently put together, a bottle to suit most occasions and reasonably priced. Then you ask Luke Wilson what’s on the secret list. He produces a tatty book the size of a school exercise book, with pencil notes – this is bin end heaven. For some wines there are a couple of dozen bottles left, for others only one or two. Prices range from about £40 a bottle to close on £200, but they are all bargains. Exceptional wines at accessible prices, what could be more fun? We pillaged the secret list for a bottle of Balthazar Ress Riesling from the Rheingau 2006 (£40) – astonishing, crisp, appley, perfumed, a real treat.
The food delivers some strong flavours, there are some starters that are headed “small plates- served all day”. Padrón peppers (£5) – sadly no surprisingly hot one so no element of risk. Keenly priced Burrata (£5). Fried baby squids (£6). From the lunch menu there is a wild garlic soup with crème fraîche (£5). Grilled asparagus, egg yolk raviolo and truffle oil (£8). Simple things are done well here – seared scallops with pea puree and pancetta (£8/£16). I cannot remember when I ended up ordering the “vegetarian option” and it is even longer since I enjoyed such a dish. Here the baked polenta, burrata, morels and St George’s mushrooms (£14) – was an grand indulgence (even if the St George’s were conspicuous by their absence, extra morels had taken their place). Good textures and great flavours. Severe case of dish envy as our neighbour’s main course is brought out – Brecon lamb rack, sprouting broccoli, wild garlic mash and anchovy (£45 for two people). The lamb looks pink and glorious. Good puds – a chocolate terrine, vanilla cream and blood orange (£7) was like mainlining cacao; a rhubarb Pavlova with pistachio and marscapone (£6) light and delicate.

10 Greek Street is a good place to eat, there is talent in the kitchen and the food is fresh, seasonal and honest. Add in the allure of Luke’s secret wine list and you have the prospect of a very good lunch indeed. If you don’t mind queuing there’s an equally fine dinner.

10 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4DH (020 7734 4677)

Charles Campion - Sunday 12th May 2013

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