Ever since The Greek opened in Hessle near Hull, we’ve looked forward to a visit. But could we book a table? No. Even the restaurant staff seemed embarrassed at turning diners away on the phone. Proving so very popular we gave up and left it on the back burner for a few months. Just what was so popular about this little restaurant set in its picturesque setting and in the shadow of the Humber Bridge?
Recently, totally out of the blue, on the off chance, I phoned to make a reservation, and success, we got a table for four. Unfortunately, on the actual evening our guests reluctantly had to cancel so it was just the two of us. Warning! Parking is difficult here and we ended up with a bit of a walk. Not great when you’re in heels. Luckily I’d left mine at home. Becky wasn’t so lucky.
We were met by a smiley staff member who began to usher us to a nice table at the front of a half-empty restaurant. On letting them know our guests had cancelled so there was just the two of us, the smile dropped like a lead balloon and we were led to a small table, (barely) for two at the very back of the restaurant next to the toilets. Odd behaviour as we felt we had been put on the ‘naughty step’, and the original four-seater table was occupied by only two diners within half an hour.
After waiting for fifteen minutes, the same waitress came to take our order and behaved somewhat more welcoming. She’d forgiven us, I think. We were taken through the menu where it was explained that they didn’t do ‘starters’ and we were encouraged to order meze and dips, and to include our main course. So, everything may or may not appear on your table at the same time. Evidently it’s the Greek way, What stuck out a mile was that although it all seemed a good idea, our table was way too small. In fact, very, very small. Luckily, they forgot my main course so we had finished our hot and cold meze dishes and drinks. After hearing her apologies and given free drinks as compensation my main course arrived and the delicious lamb cutlets/chops went down a treat.
What was the menu like? Well, there appeared an awful lot of cold aubergine, beetroot and hummus, (not an awful lot of choice for my personal taste), and not a great choice for vegetarians on the mains. For meat eaters, however, the mixed grill seemed the best option. For £30 you got a sharing board for two which included a taste of most menu items; two cutlets, two chicken souvlaki, pork gyros, village sausage, dips, salad, pita bread and chips. There were a lot of chips, better known as ‘Fries’ to you Americans. Chips with everything. Chips with chops. Chips in wraps. Chips as ‘sides’. If you like chips then The Greek is for you. There were even chips inside the Souvlaki Talagani; grilled cheese in a pita with tzatzki, onions, tomatoes (and chips).
Was the food good? And the answer is, it was OK, a bit like a snack menu. It wasn’t bad and maybe in a Greek taverna, with the sun shining and the sea lapping at your feet, it might feel authentic, but for us it wasn’t a special eating experience. It was nice, but not particularly memorable. Quite difficult to comment on the ambience as we were still on the ‘naughty step’ table but the restaurant only ever appeared half full.
So, what had all the fuss been about, not being able to book a table for months? No idea! To be fair to The Greek it’s more a relaxed cafe-style establishment rather than restaurant-standard dining, and never pretended to be anything else. The prices are very reasonable and the staff are helpful. Would we go again? And the answer to that is maybe, but with no hurry. Maybe The Greek is losing its initial appeal to the locals. It certainly wasn’t full by any means. Maybe it needs a change of menu or a bit of Zorba dancing. I wish The Greek luck and maybe we’ll meet again, in a few months time.