As per usual while travelling to London on business, I stumbled upon yet another great find! I happened to be staying in the Lancaster Gate area of London and wanted to find a restaurant near my hotel so I wouldn’t have to travel very far. This one happened to be within walking distance so I decided to try it out – I think I have found my new favourite London restaurant!
You could easily dismiss Halepi if you happen to be walking past. It’s very small, tucked away in a residential area, it looks a bit old and the sign outside has seen better days. From the outside, you don’t expect this place to be anything amazing. As you walk in, you may still be scpetical. The place is tiny, you need to get through some old velvet curtains to get in, and once you’re in you don’t really know where to turn as you’re right in the middle of the dining room with very little space to move around. The atmosphere is loud and chaotic with music, chatting and lots of buzz. I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at this stage but the queue of people waiting to be seated on a Tuesday night told me that this place was worth the wait and I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
I’m so glad I gave it a go because the food is completely worth it! I tried the braised leg of lamb my first night, followed by hummus and moussaka the second night (yes, I went back a second night in a row). The food is simple, home cooked and full of flavour. There are no bells and whistles here it comes to the table just like your grandma would serve it and that’s exactly what I wanted. The lamb was falling off the bone, with a subtle fresh tomato taste and accompanied by fragrant rice. The portion sizes are generous. The moussaka was also delicious, and had obviously been freshly made that day. A soft layer of aubergine, lamb, potatoes, bechamel and topped with cheese, accompanies by fresh vegetables. The hummus was also delicious and tasted home made, with just enough garlic!
Don’t be put off by the chaos and noise of this place, or the tired looking decor – there’s a reason this place has been around for as long as it has and that’s the food! Next time you’re in London, head over to Halepi for some authentic Greek cuisine!