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A la Colthard – Halepi

Daphne Colthard goes Greek

I do have a problem with Greek gastronomy and that is differentiating between the levels of cuisine. Off hand I cannot think of an expensive Greek restaurant where the cooking is a superior to the taverna. I sometimes wonder too if the Greek food we eat here is Cypriot and out there a Greek cuisine exists which is more indigenous.

Yesterday I went with a friend of mine a property developer whose wife is Greek to the Halepi in Leinster Terrace, Lancaster Gate . This has been going for years and is always popular.

I ordered an octopus salad. It looked suspiciously similar to the Greek salad served with my Kleftiko. I suspect that there is a huge bowl of salad already made up in the kitchen into which the chef puts in feta or squid as required. I was not impressed. The Kleftiko was a slab of meat, the lamb on a shank. It was dull. My friend had 2 salads.

The waitress was bossy recommending my friend had a different salad. He had his reasons, he watches his weight and was going out for dinner too.

The other problem is atmosphere or lack of it. I remember in my younger days rowdy plate throwing nights with medical students from the nearby Middlesex Hospital at Anemos in Charlotte Street where even my immature palette recognised the direness of the food. That had atmosphere. I also recall our youngest Tarquin, wasted on a family holiday in Corfu taking to the dance floor of the local taverna with his rendition of Zorba the Greek causing much amusement to all except the Colthard family

We had half a bottle of Moët as it was the first birthday of a dear and mutual friend after she had passed away in January . The Champagne cost £26 but the final bill was a reasonable £87 so value is probably the determining factor in going there. There were few diners at lunchtime but I  believe traditionally many FA council members stay nearby and use the restaurant.

I recently praised A Wong for its innovative Hong Kong cuisine, if there is a reader who is aware of a Greek restaurant that redefines Hellenic food frontiers I should be interested to know.

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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts