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Lemonia Reviewed

Josh Learner was planning for a posh lunch, but Lemonia did not live up to expectations

Written by . Published on November 24th 2011.


Lemonia Reviewed

SO I’m standing on the escalators ascending the deep depths of the northern line to the heady realms of Chalk Farm tube entrance. I get to ground level; I pass through the barriers and walk outside into the crispy cold autumn air. I take a sniff and look around, there’s a few wiry and shady looking characters looking for their next crack fix and a disused tampon on the floor. “This simply won’t do,” I barked to myself. Craving something more upmarket, I hang a right onto Almeida Road and take a left over the railway bridge to Primrose Hill, the location of the much talked about Greek restaurant, Lemonia.

Fully inclined for a workout in how to dine like a rich bastard, I strode down Regents Park Road wearing my best middle class threads oozing the message, ‘I’m so over this place it’s unreal’.

Whether charming or pretentious, Primrose Hill doesn’t fall short in grandeur. The architecture is sublime and the streets pristine. Affluence was the name of the game today, or so I had told myself pompously that morning. Fully inclined for a workout in how to dine like a rich bastard, I strode down Regents Park Road wearing my best middle class threads oozing the message, ‘I’m so over this place it’s unreal’. I assertively opened the doors to Lemonia and immediately felt like a tool. The zesty, lemon scented waft radiated a modest charm and the middle aged/going on 60 waiters provided an instant personal affection.

LemoniaLemonia

Lemonia definitely attracts the more well off folk, but stays admiringly true to its Greek roots. The interior is filled with low hanging plants and a bronzed, stone floor. Various Greek artefacts and pottery line the walls. I was told we could sit anywhere we wanted, so I found a nice little window spot only to be told this area was closed. Slightly irritated, we took a seat at the back of the restaurant in the conservatory and were immediately presented with a free appetiser of olives, carrots and horseradish. The olives were far too dry and too overpowering in taste for my opinion. We both opted for the very reasonably priced two course lunch option (£11.95), with a complimentary coffee included. For a Monday afternoon the place was reasonably busy, usually an indicator of a thriving establishment.

Courgette CroquettesCourgette Croquettes

I don’t know why but I felt inherently uninspired when skimming through the set lunch menu, my mind suppressed from the weekend debauchery – that’s not to say the menu items didn’t look good though; courgette croquettes, mackerel, and grilled halloumi to name a few. The mains included chicken breast, fish cakes, sea bass, salmon and meatballs. I, rather guiltily, chose the hummus and pitta, followed by the meatballs in spicy tomato sauce. My date, slightly more adventurously, opted for the courgette croquettes followed by the sea bass.

HummusHummus

Rather catching up, we both spent most of the time admiring the aesthetics of the old time waiters as they swaggered their way around the restaurant floor, dressed in their loose white shirts and casual black trousers. Our starters arrived – the hummus was well presented and tasted homemade and fresh. Brownie points for the generous olive oil topping too; it’s a Greek gaff after all. The courgette croquettes opposite me appeared, in all honesty, thoroughly boring, and I couldn’t condone the lack of crisp in their batter either. My palette didn’t agree with the flavour, a little bland and lacking in any sort of kick, yet having said that, I never have been a fan of courgette so I could be commenting slightly out of turn.

Sea BassSea Bass

The mains arrived and I was unimpressed with the presentation. The three isolated meatballs looked more like koftas. They were dumped next to a dome of rice with the tomato sauce underneath the lot and no garnish to speak of. It was also a pretty small portion overall. The lack of imagination annoyed me as well as shortfalls in colour diversity. I immediately regretted going for the set menu. I also don’t like being lied to.

Meatballs with spicy tomato sauce said the menu, but bland said the chef who either forgot to add any spice or was just scared of upsetting Primrose Hill’s trophy elite.,The meatballs were delicious despite this and the sauce not too bad either. The sea bass looked ok and tasted fine. That’s about it really, extremely mediocre. My date spent most of his time extracting bones and the fish lacked any other flavours apart from the sea bass itself.

Not so spicy meatballsNot so spicy meatballs

The negative comments I’ve made won’t put Lemonia on my restaurant black list until I try some dishes from their main menu. The set menu was low in price and unfortunately low in excitement. But the place has a lovely warm feel to it. The whole place smells of Greece and the waiters are proud of it too, if only the food was better I’d be in a good mind to take one of the Chalk Farm junkies, if they’d let me, out for lunch next time.

Lemonia
89 Regents Park Road
Primrose Hill
NW1 8UY

 

Rating:                                  13/20  


Breakdown: Food:               6/10

                     Service:          3/5

                     Ambience:      4/5   

 

Follow @josh_learner on Twitter        

 

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: we gets carried away.


 

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Ella JamesonApril 7th 2014.

Thanks for the review, slightly disappointing to read as Lemonia was just listed as one of the best places to eat here www.discount-london.com/tastesoflondon.htm… From your review it doesn't seem especially worthy of that accolade but I've heard a lot of good stuff so maybe it was an off-day? Might have to eat there and see for myself!

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