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Review: Welcome a beautiful, bouncing kebabby at this Preston restaurant and takeaway

Posted on - 24th February, 2024 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Food & Drink, Friargate, Opinion, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Restaurants in Preston, Reviews, Takeaways, What's On in Preston
Greekouzina exterior Pic: Greekouzina / Facebook
Greekouzina in Friargate Pic: Greekouzina / Facebook

This week my daughter GZ decided that she wanted something, “not heavy, not greasy, kind of more of a brunch thing, something that will fill me up but not too filling. Nothing spicy.”

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We set off for an hour’s worth of my least favourite pass time, “What About? …Nah”, which involves us crawling around the mean streets of Preston like Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, getting increasingly hangry as we look for something we both agree on.

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Eventually we decided on Greekouzina, a restaurant in Friargate in the City Centre that was recently a finalist for the Greek restaurant or takeaway category in the 12th British Kebab Awards.

Read more: Greekouzina in the running to be crowned best Greek restaurant in Britain

It’s a modern, cheerful, brightly lit place with more of a lunchtime than date night vibe. The menu is extensive and features all the Greek classics, including GZ’s favourite, horiatiki, a feta and olive salad.

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Some Greek salads make the diner thrash through a jungle of salad leaves in order to find a terrified family of tiny feta cubes cowering under the shadow of an olive. This was not one of those salads.

The leaves were crushed under two slabs of cheese that could comfortably fit Twelve Commandments on them with room for a couple of extras. The feta was mild, crumbly and creamy, over burly tomato chunks and thinly sliced onions. It was nice, but could have done with a more flavourful dressing as the strong taste of the oregano that was liberally sprinkled on the cheese was hogging the spotlight.

Greekouzina horiatiki
Thou shalt not be stingy with the oregano

I’d ordered kotosoupa for £4.90, described as “the famous, traditional, Greek chicken soup with rice and egg-lemon sauce”. It didn’t come with bread so I added a garlic pitta for £2.

The pitta was beautifully fluffy, warm and garlicky and, again, the oregano was a huge contributor to its taste, which was how I learned that I’m not a big fan of oregano. However, it would be perfect for those who love it.

Greekouzina soup
Soup like every grandma who’s ever lived used to make, but Greek

It was my first time trying Greek soup, so I was uncertain about what to expect. What arrived was a generous bowl of what seemed like chicken stock. The egg drifted about offering little substance but confident in its right to be there, like Jacob Rees Mogg in Parliament. It was close to being the sort of soup your grandma would make if you were unwell: hot, no chewing necessary and most likely packed with nutrients. It was a touch bland but easily livened up by a bit of salt and pepper.

I’d ordered the King Wrap for £10.50 – chicken gyros with kebab, fries, salad, htipiti dip (roasted red pepper and feta) and tzatziki (yoghurt with mint, garlic and cucumber), and added some feta for good measure.

When it arrived on its paper plate I got the same feeling as I did when I was leaving the hospital with my first child and a nurse handed her over, firmly wrapped up until only her face was showing. It was a wave of horror on the theme of, “why are you giving me that when I have absolutely no idea how to hold or otherwise interact with it?”

Greekouzina kebab
Please admire this beautiful kebabby

My wrap was roughly the same size and weight as my baby, and I suspected that if I unwrapped it I’d never be able to wrap it back up properly again and I’d have to deal with what was inside, unsupervised, forever, and there was no way I was falling for that again so it stayed wrapped. But at least my kebabby wasn’t screaming.

The wrap appeared to contain the dark meat of the chicken in small pieces, almost like they’d been shredded, which offered more chickeny flavour but also more grease than grilled chicken breast chunks that are found on a lot of kebabs. The salad was crushed into nonexistence by the chicken and fries, bless it.

Read more: Indian restaurant The Biryani Box opens in New Hall Lane

I took a bite, and there was a brief moment of panic when it seemed like the wrap was eating me instead of the other way around, but I eventually managed to back my way out of there without getting it in my eyes.

The first taste didn’t do it for me despite all the ingredients sounding like a magical combination. The problem was that the sauces I’d chosen were blobbed in the centre of the kebab, so unless I was prepared to disassemble the tightly packed behemoth at the table and do some mixing of my own on the little paper plate, the table, the floor and the walls, some bites would be bland and some would be a friendly punch in the throat.

Read more: Eatery with outdoor seating area plan in shadow of former much-loved Italian restaurant

I had a taste of the contents individually, which were delicious, particularly the homemade, creamy htipiti dip. However, I gave up trying to eat it in the restaurant and asked for it to be packed to take away so I could let my mother Yvonne try it, as she’s a woman who loves food and isn’t afraid to get her ears dirty. Her verdict was “superb, but could have done with more salt”.

The staff at Greekouzina are welcoming and knowledgeable, and the value and quality of the food they serve is excellent, so it’s unsurprising that it has garnered awards in that respect. The paper plates let it down a touch as they weren’t emotionally or physically sturdy enough to cope with what was about to happen to them.

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I’d happily order the King Wrap again, but next time I’ll either ask for all the fillings to be mixed before they are put into the wrap, or that the dips be served separately so I can add them myself, or  I’d get it to take away on a solitary night in. Then I can lock the doors, draw the curtains, cover the mirrors and go Yvonne on it.

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Have you had to fight for your life against a Greekouzina wrap? Share the story of your ordeal in the comments.

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