Tel: +44 (0)20 7580 9730
Address: 5 Coptic Street, WC1
Cuisine Type: Greek
Tottenham Court Road (NORTHERN, CENTRAL), Holborn (PICCADILLY, CENTRAL)
Konaki has offered good solid Greek cooking in pleasant and unpretentious surroundings for around 15 years now, but since my last visit a couple of years back the quality has definitely gone up a notch. Not that it was bad before, you understand, but it’s got just that bit more sophisticated. Even better, the prices are just as reasonable as I remember from the past.
The long list of traditional starters offers many tasty choices, starting at the bargain price of £2.70. The standards are all there, such as tzatziki, taramosalata and hoummus (or revithosalata, as it’s called on this menu – there must be a subtle difference but it certainly seemed like hoummus to me). There are various grilled cheese options (hallumi, fetta or saganaki, which despite sounding Japanese is fried kefalotyri cheese, and comes as a very filling slab). Spicy Greek sausages are good though a little gristly, and there are spicy lamb meatballs and excellent spanakopittakia – spinach and cheese in filo pastry. Whatever you order comes with a splendid plate of olives, chillies and carrot sticks, and the pitta bread is piping hot. For the brave there is octopus soaked in oil and vinegar at £5.50, or for the same amount you can have a selection of cold starters.
I’m rather good a OD-ing on Greek starters and not leaving enough room for what tend to be rather hearty main courses, but we were able to check out the dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with minced lamb and rice) and a delicious dish of stuffed courgettes (both served with Greek pasta for £7.60). There are also lamb, chicken, pork or fish souvlaki (£8.30 – £9.50) and interesting fish, including red snapper, red mullet and sea bream (£10.50 – £12.50), alongside the staples of moussaka, kleftiko (chunks of lamb cooked to melting tenderness in the oven) and stifado (rabbit cooked in red wine). Vegetarian dishes and a range of salads are also available.
Traditional Greek puddings such as baklava are delicious, as is the simplest of dishes – Greek yoghurt and honey. The wine list is short and reasonably priced – the retsina at £9.50 is very palatable indeed.
The service is very friendly and helpful and on a rainy midweek night we were lucky to get a table without a reservation. Taking the menu upmarket – while keeping the prices keen – has obviously worked well for Konaki, so you’d be advised to book.