A meal to remember at Number 10 (Greek Street)

Apr 16, 2012

The decor is plain and you can't book a table, but the meals are worth the wait

What you need to know
10 Greek St, a modern European-themed restaurant which opened in London's Soho two months ago, is getting rave reviews. It is co-owned by Australian-raised Cameron Emirali, formerly of Wapping Food, the restaurant of The Wapping Project arts centre, and Luke Wilson, previously with Liberty Wines and The Ambassador in Exmouth Market.
The decor is modern, pared down, with banquettes, no tablecloths and a blackboard menu. The dishes are based on seasonal ingredients, such as Dorset crab with peas and mint, braised Welsh lamb shoulder with anchovy cream and purple sprouting broccoli, and hare with wilted kale and polenta.
The restaurant has a no-booking policy, except at lunchtime, so on busy weekend evenings diners may have to wait for a table.
What the critics like
This restaurant is a bit of a diamond, says Jay Rayner in The Observer. There is nothing showy about the dishes, but there are "oceans of technique". Yet it's all done with such a light touch "that it may only be as you come to the end of the meal that you will recognise how well you have been fed".
An independent restaurant with gifted cooks, benign service and a revelatory wine list: bring it on, says Fay Maschler in the Evening Standard. The seasonal hare was excellent and the smoked eel delicious. "Companionable prices" - for both the food and the wine - are reflected in "simple but comfortable" surroundings.
The restaurateur's ambition to create an affordable neighbourhood restaurant is enhanced by Wilson's experience in the wine trade, says Nicholas Lander in the Financial Times. There are some "really exciting wines, as well as a blackboard full of bin ends, at extremely low mark-ups".
What they don't like
It is so unprepossessing you could pass by without noticing it, says John Walsh in The Independent. It's so plain as to suggest the proprietor must be Amish and the chairs wouldn't look out of place at a Quaker meeting. Nevertheless, "I doubt if the inhabitants of the other, more famous Number 10 have eaten better dinners".
Restaurateurs have realised they can maximise their table-turning and profits with a no reservation policy, while sacrificing the convenience of the dining public, says Guy Diamond in Time Out. Yet "it's good to see a new Soho restaurant in such rude health - and it might even be worth waiting for".

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