MY KNOWLEDGE of Greek food is very limited, the odd mousaka microwave meal is the extent of my experience, so I was delighted to be treated to an array of mouth-watering Mediterranean food last week.
I was invited to taste the talents of a small family-run restaurant called Wine and Mousaka.
Although the eatery in Haven Green, Ealing Broadway, has been around for more than 35 years, it was taken over by a new management about five months ago - one that says it prides itself on keeping its customers happy.
Soon after settling in, my friend and I were presented with a selection of dips, pitta bread, loukanika (pork sausage marinated in red wine), kalamari (battered squid rings) and haloumi (salty Greek cheese).
The dips - taramasalata (smoked cod roe), hummus (chick peas) and tzatziki (cucumber and yoghurt) - had a good flavour and a satisfying consistency. They cost £3.95 each.
I could taste the red wine in the loukanika, priced at £4.25, and the sausage meat was juicy.
I don't think I could have eaten too much of the haloumi (£4.50), but the saltiness wasn't overwhelming. Having never had it before, it was hard to judge this dish.
But my favourite was the kalamari (£4.50). The flesh can be tough and chewy but not on this occasion. It gave way pleasantly in my mouth but still with enough of a satisfying bite.
I was also pleased to find that the batter was light and gave texture without being greasy or marring the flavour of the squid.
The restaurant had a cosy feel, thanks to the low lighting and small dining area. The modern interior has been done tastefully, so as not to detract from the age of the building, and it struck me as the perfect place for both romantic dates or for meeting with friends (both types of diner were in the restaurant as we ate our mains).
The only warning I would give is that the dining area may, on busy nights, feel a little too intimate for some. Meat lovers would love the selection of mains we were presented with, but there was also a selection of vegetarian options.
The kleftiko (£11.50) - fresh, English lamb slow cooked in herbs, spices and red wine - literally fell off the bone with a slight prod of the fork. It melted in the mouth and tasted delicious.
But I enjoyed the lamb souvla (£12.50) the most. Spit-roasted, it had a lovely charcoal flavour on the outside but was still moist and tasty in the middle.
There was a cheaper chicken souvla which was good, too, but could not match the lamb.
The meat was served with bulgur wheat rice. This was fluffy, almost like couscous, and very tasty.
The salad was excellent, including fresh cabbage, coriander and rocket, and my friend described the feta cheese as 'divine'.
My crash course in Greek cuisine complete, I left full and happy and I know I'll be back to sample more of the menu - and I think I'll give those microwave meals a miss from now on.