Eating is not a matter of daily routine in Greek culture – the emphasis is on enjoyment and being sociable. Yet there’s a distinct lack of quality Greek restaurants around south London.
My Big Fat Greek serves up traditional Greek and Cypriot dishes under the watchful eyes of legends Poseidon, Perseus and Medusa. It aims to provide good food and a great dining experience, and is only stumbling distance from East Dulwich railway station.
It’s a family business run by a chap called Andy, who insists that you won’t find a better Greek restaurant south of the river. Big words but then he’s tried them all, and I haven’t.
Downstairs has murals painted on bare walls with the classic blue and white colouring you’d expect, while upstairs there’s a secluded function room decorated with views of Santorini and music played on request only. Its style is simple and when people pack in and the lights go down, it’s cosy too.
My friend and I are vegetarian (two veggies in a lamb-centric eatery, nice) so we didn’t look over the menu too much and instead decided to tuck into every meat free morsel we could get our hands and lips on.
If you’re after a quick nibble then the vast selection of hot and cold starters can be mixed and matched into a meal, or you can plump for the belt bursting full meze and put your appetite to the test.
To start we had a selection of dips and salads with warm pita bread. I love houmous and this was pretty good and not too garlicky, so a safe choice if you’re on a date or heading out later. The chilli feta and olives were equally scrummy and aubergine dip was the best I’ve tasted by a long way. I’m not a fan of tzatziki but this stole the show. It was thick and smooth with plenty of fresh mint; nothing like the runny, tasteless stuff you get in supermarkets.
We narrowly avoided a fork fight over the grilled halloumi salad which was salty, chewy and just delicious!
I thought we’d made it through the starters when out came a warm and flaky spanakopita (filo triangles of spinach, feta and dill). Again, this was lovely but very generous with the pastry, so not an ideal starter if you’re planning to have a large meal.
Finally, feeling a little full, we had gotten through the first course.
Next up was a crackling hot moussaka – the classic and most frequently ordered Greek dish. I like mine firm and chunky, but if you’ve had one before you’ll know it’s a gamble and you risk being presented with a soggy mess. Fortunately, this was hearty, crammed with delicious vegetables, had a lovely crispy top and wasn’t in the slightest bit sloppy. It didn’t last long.
After all of our sampling, dessert was a laughable idea so we rounded off the meal with a juicy Trooro wine instead. Very drinkable and I doubt you even need food to go with it.
The food is delicious, fresh and the portions are massive without being pricey. As an added bonus, children eat free with a paying adult and there’s not a crappy burger in sight.
Customer interaction seems to be their passion and staff have a ‘you tell us what you want and we’ll get it’ attitude, which has apparently led to the occasional belly dancer and live music show. They even revamped the menu at a diner’s request to make it easier to choose.
You can’t go wrong at My Big Fat Greek if you enjoy good quality, authentic Greek food. All of the dishes are homemade and every ingredient is sourced from Greece or Cyprus so your dinner may be clocking up the air miles, but it will give you an authentic taste of the Mediterranean.
Open 7 days a week. Mon – Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri – Sat 4pm-10.30pm and Sun 1pm-10pm
11-15 Melbourne Grove, SE22 8RG – view on map
Ceri Jones is a journalist and serial hobbist who dedicates her time to raucous music, dusty books, tattoos and crochet, and believes that a cup of tea solves everything. When she’s not chasing a story, she’s a roller derby girl racing around the flat track and documenting her progress at www.rollerderbymeat.wordpress.com. Her aim in life is to always be curious.