Exmouth market is full of great places to eat*, so it's perhaps unsurprising that for years we'd entirely overlooked a little corner Greek place just off the main drag.
Passing by one day though I was attracted by a rather good review from Hardens in the window (think it was from a previous year, though the current one's not bad either). It was a Friday night, but they managed to squeeze us in.
The place ain't gonna win any modern design awards, but I loved all the vines strewn across the ceiling, the friendly Cypriotic waiters (who seemed to hark back to the days or the countries where being a waiter is a sought-after career full of men well past their middle age mark) and the buzz created by the close together tables and the small groups of regulars dining around us.
I loved the exclusively Cypriotic wine list too (though I was slightly less enamoured with our bottle of white Aphrodite).
Now all they had to do is provide some half way edible food and they'd have another couple of regulars.
Alas, it was not too be. We had the souvla meze, a wealth of dishes most of which -- starting with the houmous -- fell firmly in the blah category.
Some, like the taramasalata, the greasy calamari or, more importantly the main course of souvla (prime cuts of lamb cooked over an open fire) were unpleasant. Sure, I enjoyed the freshness of the Greek salad, the grilled halloumi cheese and the flavour-full, buttery marinated mushrooms. And I was more than full without having more than a mouthful of the dishes I actively disliked -- too full to be tempted by the fruit platter which also comes as part of the set meal.
But however much I liked the place and the atmosphere, and however much I irrationally feel guilty for giving it the thumbs down, I just can't overlook the fact that the food in neighbouring Sofra tastes nicer -- and that's saying something.
Kolossi Grill, 56-60 Rosebury Avenue, EC1R 4RR; Tel. 0207 2785758 Tube: Angel; www.kolossigrill.com
* Oops, putting in the links for that bit has made me realised that I've never really reviewed my favourite places on the stretch, namely The Ambassador (where I learned to love nettle soup) and Moro. Perfect - an excuse for return visits to both, and soon!