THERE can surely be no corner of this sceptred isle more quintessentially English than Stratford - steeped in history and tradition, nestled on the banks of the River Avon, this popular little town ticks every tourist box going when it comes to encapsulating our green and pleasant land.

Which is what makes it all the more pleasantly surprising to find, tucked away just yards from Shakespeare's birthplace, a true taste of Greece.

And El Greco is as much authentically Greek as its adopted home town is English - which, for true Grecophiles such as myself, makes it a real gem of a find in between long-anticipated sojourns to one of the most beautiful parts of the Mediterranean.

I've spent more time touring about the Greek mainland and islands than I can remember, but rarely, if ever, have I stumbled across such memorable Hellenic cuisine.

There's no making do with a few of the more famous Greek delights such as souvlaki and moussaka, tucked away on a menu laden with pasta and pizzas - which I've found to my disappointment all-too-often even in Greek resorts themselves - and the signature mezze spread - all 22 courses of it - epitomises what El Greco is all about.

Eight or nine starters - tzatziki, kalamari, taramosalata, spanacopita and the wonderful Greek Loukania sausage to name but a few - are followed by a similar array of miniature mains - including mouth-wateringly tender beef stifado (a rich stew with baby onions), grilled chicken and pork souvlaki, slow-roast lamb kleftiko, moussaka of course, not forgetting the ubiquitous Greek salad, pitta breads, mountains of olives... the list goes on, and that's before you even get to the handful of dessert tasters too. And to think, I'd only popped in for a salad...

If, like me, you spend 50 weeks of the year yearning for those two weeks you'll spend under the stars eating genuine, home-cooked Greek dishes, lovingly prepared and treated with reverence and respect, El Greco is the perfect pit stop to keep you going, be it through the dark days of winter or during the brief glimpses of English summer sunshine.

El Greco is open from 10am-10pm seven days a week and offers a pre-theatre menu as well as lunch, dinner and all snacks in between.

For more visit or call 01789 290505.

Kali orexi!

And to find out more about the attractions on offer in Shakespeare Country visit

Pete Wallace