A large group of us met one evening to try the Greek cuisine on offer at Tsiakkos & Charcoal, a little restaurant in Maida Vale with a tiny kitchen and an equally tiny eating area. We were led to the back where tables had been reserved for us – the back being their sheltered outdoor terrace with lots and lots of heaters! Luckily, we just about stayed warm while eating!
The whole meal felt like eating in someone’s living room and we’d heard the food was some of the best Greek food in London. The small menu presented to us had a selection of starters and a handful of main courses. With guidance from our Greek friends who’d been here before, we all opted for the £20 per head meze deal (minimum two people) and then sat back and waited for the food to arrive. A lot more arrived than I expected – you really get a bit of everything that the restaurant has that day! All the dishes I photographed below were shared between four people.
Baskets of pitta bread first arrived with generous portions of houmous, tzatziki and quite possibly the best taramasalata I’ve ever had (beautiful flavour!).
Grilled haloumi was tender and squeaky and doused in plenty of lemon juice and good olive oil.
Greek salad with feta was a lovely burst of freshness before the meats started arriving.
First up of the meats was a ‘slow burnt’ pork, a long cooked large chunk of pork that was falling apart. No, no part of it was actually ‘burnt’!
A portion of mousaka also came along – this was quite heavily and uniquely spiced with cinnamon and maybe cloves. I quite liked this but this started a conversation at the table about how different regions in Greece and Cyprus have different mousaka seasonings.
Pork and chicken kebab were overgrilled to slight toughness but the flavour in them was promising. A good squeeze of lemon juice over and they were chewy morsels that were pleasant enough. A little less time on the grill and these would have been perfect.
Kleftiko then arrived. This giant hunk of super tender lamb was sitting on an incredibly delicious rice pilaf. I would make sure to save space for this – this was one of my favourites that night.
But that wasn’t all! In addition to all that meat, we also were brought a whole grilled sea bream! This too was beautifully cooked to perfection – I loved grilled fish.
We were really rolling around stuffed by this point but I insisted on a wee little something sweet. A piece of baklava each was just enough sugariness to end the meal. It was a shame these weren’t homemade but the usual store-bought stuff.
Altogether, a lovely meal at a good price – with drinks and the baklava, it ended up being something like £25 per head. If you’d rather have just a few things, the dips are under £4 and mains are around £10-15. The place is good for groups, especially with the meze option, but do make sure to book in advance! The place was packed on a Thursday night. Sure, seating could be a little more comfortable but I guess it all adds to the unique ‘ambiance’ of the place!
Tsiakkos & Charcoal
5 Marylands Road
London W9 2DU