THERE’S been an explosion of high street restaurants and pubs offering vegan menus in recent months. But when it comes to accommodating meat and dairy-free diners, The Real Greek is the real deal.

One of the main reasons is that quite a lot of Cypriot food is already plant-based or is relatively easy to adapt, and they don’t bother with meat substitutes.

And as restaurant chains go, The Real Greek is a particular favourite because the emphasis is on sharing an array of Mediterranean morsels. Dishes can be mixed and matched and are elegantly presented on tiered plate stands.

Although I’m not vegan, I was intrigued to try the new vegan menu. You can also get nourishing vegan soups at lunchtime which are proving to be especially popular (they contain at least one of your five a day apparently.)

I went along one mid-week evening with a vegan friend to check out the new menu which is divided into cold mezze, hot mezze, wraps and puddings, so there’s plenty of choice.

We started with mashed Green Pea Fava (£4.75) made with olive oil and lemon, topped with chopped red onion and fresh tomatoes, a Spicy Walnut and Red Pepper Dip (£5) which was robust and smoky with enough heat to thaw the cockles on a cold winter’s night, and a big pile of warm flatbreads.

Our main course round of dishes included Chickpea Filo Triangles (£5.25) which were my favourites as they looked like two giant samosas - crispy, filo parcels stuffed with a mildly spiced blend of chickpeas, cumin and just a touch of sun-dried tomato and chilli.

One revelation was the Jackfruit Stifado (£5.75), a robust dish made with slow cooked jackfruit which has a stringy, meat-like texture when cooked, served with button mushrooms and shallots with a hint of aniseed, and Pourgouri (£3.75), a classic Cypriot side dish made with cracked bulgur wheat, tomatoes and onions followed by Spinach with Gigandes (£5) a hearty offering made with what looked like giant baked beans cooked in a tomato and garlic sauce.

And as if this wasn’t enough food, we also ordered Moussaka (£5.75) made with potato, courgette, aubergine and jackfruit with a generous amount of cinnamon. Although I didn’t miss the minced meat, I did hanker after some béchamel sauce!

Overall the service was friendly and relaxed, the restaurant was buzzing, and the food was incredibly filling (they offered to package up our leftovers in neat brown boxes which was a nice touch).

Although I found some of the textures and flavours quite similar, my vegan friend reckoned it’s one the best vegan deals in town. With over 33 vegetarian and vegan dishes on offer, The Real Greek is certainly leading the plant-based revolution on the high street.