Review: It’s fatayer fer tea at this packed Preston City Centre eatery

Posted on - 24th September, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink, Friargate, Opinion, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, Reviews, Takeaways, What's On in Preston
Jaffa chicken burger
Admire this boneless chicken leg. Not mine, the one on the burger

The third establishment to get a visit in Blog Preston’s series reviewing the best and worst reviewed eateries in the city is Mediterranean restaurant Jaffa.


Situated in Friargate in Preston City Centre, it has reviews that mention ‘amazing portion size’ and ‘the best place in the North West for Middle Eastern food’.

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I’ve been before in the afternoons and found it moderately busy and bustling, but this was the first time that I’ve visited on a Friday evening, and it was packed. 

It’s not a huge place, so every table was occupied, and the queue that began at the counter bisected the width of the restaurant to the entrance door and beyond. It was so loud and crowded that I left the other two members of my party at the door whilst I queued and ordered. 

I had to shout my order over the counter like a busy New York stockbroker who needs everyone to know that she drinks a quad long shot grande in a venti cup half calf double cupped no sleeve salted caramel mocha latte. I was just yelling ‘pepperoni pizza, feta fatayer and a chicken burger’ in a broad Lancashire accent, but I still briefly felt like I was in Sex and the City.


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As I was bellowing at the speedy man behind the counter, waiters were constantly and politely saying ‘excuse me’ as they tried to get through the queue with food and plates, so every credit should go to them for their patience. I’d have returned to work on my second day wearing roller skates with spinning knives on the wheels. Or maybe best to try it out with safety sporks first?

The energy and bustle of the place was so high that it spread through the entire restaurant, and people were eating like they were in Squid Game. I could see that the man at the counter was visibly vibrating with the need to get my order and move on to the next customer, so I did what I do best and panic ordered a bunch of stuff, failed to ask him to repeat what he’d said for the third time in case he thought I was rude, assumed the number he shouted at me was the order number (2723 seemed about right) instead of the cost of the meal, then wandered off in the wrong direction without paying until I was steered towards a safe table. 

After my first couple of trips to and from the cutlery and condiment station, I figured out that the best way to get around the premises is to wait until a member of staff is passing and hop into their slipstream. It doesn’t matter if they’re going the opposite way to your destination, just hang in there and they’ll eventually pass your stop and you can hop out again. 

Our food arrived in record time, and despite the appalling photos that I took of it, it all looked and smelled amazing. The 12″ pizza was the most expensive item at £9.90, and carried a decent amount of pepperoni, cheese and tomato. It was good, but not outstanding. 

Jaffa pizza
A perfectly good pizza, but not in the same league as Jaffa’s fatayer or their chicken shawarma calzone

The smoky jerk chicken burger for £5.90 (plus £1 extra for fries) was packed with flavour, and the chicken was perfectly cooked and tender. It seemed to be a boneless chicken thigh cooked with skin on. I don’t like the skin on chicken when it’s become soggy in sauce, but that’s just my preference and nothing to do with the quality of the food. 

A portion of five Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese, breaded and deep fried at £3.50 was good value and enjoyed by everyone, but the highlight of our meal was the fatayer with feta and parsley, costing £7.50.

Jaffa Jalapeño peppers stuffed with cream cheese
Poppers reclining on a bed of lettuce. Don’t try that at home, the lettuce will stick to your back

It was a thin, crispy base of fresh dough, which could be seen as it was prepared in the open kitchen behind the counter. A generous topping of feta and parsley was enhanced by a hint of garlic, and although the ingredients were simple the combination was magical.

Jaffa fatayer
If someone offers you a fatayer don’t panic. It’s one of these, not a threat from a Prestonian to punch you in the side of the head

We asked for a box to take away the leftover pizza and fatayer, which was brought promptly, but we were asked to vacate the table whilst I hadn’t finished the slice that I was in the middle of eating, which seemed a little rude. However, I’m a notoriously slow eater, every table was packed with diners, the queue was still as long as when we arrived and I only had a couple of bites left, so there’s a possibility that the member of staff hadn’t noticed. 

Jaffa has had consistently good reviews since it opened, and entirely deserves them. This isn’t as good a review as I was expecting to write, but that’s mostly down to circumstance. 

I have previously visited only during the day, so although it’s always been busy, I didn’t expect the loud, organised chaos that is a result of an immensely popular restaurant and takeaway on a Friday at 7pm. 

I panic ordered the wrong things. A pizza is a pizza, it’s rare that pizzas from a restaurant with such a massive menu are as good as those produced by places that specialise in pizza, such as Volare, 1260 Craft and Crust and Honest Jon.

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Fries aren’t remarkable, and it doesn’t take skill to plop them into some oil, so I did a disservice to the kitchen and the talented staff working in it when I ordered them instead of one of the many dishes at which Jaffa excels, like the fatayer. 

On previous visits I’ve tried the Cajun blackened chicken and rice, homemade hummus and pitta bread, and chicken shawarma calzone. I only ordered the calzone because Yvonne and I saw a waiter take one to another table and it looked so good that we asked what it was and ordered it. That was over a year ago and I still think about it far more than is appropriate. 

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After my Friday night visit to Jaffa I can offer the following advice:

  1. Have a look at the menu, and decide what you want before you go. 
  2. Take some calming Bach Rescue Remedy half an hour before you arrive to avoid behaving like a spooked horse when you reach the counter. 
  3. Forget the Italian/American/English dishes, you can get them anywhere. Order the Middle Eastern items, whether you know what they are or not. Those are the items at which Jaffa excels, and you’ll struggle to find them done better in Lancashire.
  4. If you’re not good with lots of people in close proximity and loud combinations of noise, smells and sights, don’t go on a Friday or Saturday night. 
  5. It’s not a place to sit and linger so get it down you and then bugger off.   
  6. Eat fast, don’t get trampled, stay safe.  

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