I tried the Lancashire restaurant, Greekouzina in Preston, shortlisted for a National Kebab Award 2023
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Preston Greek restaurant and takeaway Greekouzina moved to Friargate in December 2021 after its former site on Marsh Lane proved too small for its bourgening popularity.
Since re-locating to Friargate the family run business has continued to prove popular with the people of Preston and wider afield, in fact this year it is one of only two Lancashire stablishments up for a prestigious National Kebab Award 2024.
Greekouzina, run by Greek couple Bill Karastergios and Christina Laporda, as well as their eldest son Efthymis, has been shortlisted in the 'Best Greek Restaurant' category of the awards and I wanted to head down to taste test their food and see if it is truly award winning...
I have walked past Greekouzina countless times on my travels into Preston City Centre so I was excited to finally have an excuse to go inside one lunchtime and once I stepped through the doors, I was immediately wondering why I hadn't.
The venue was warm and bright with lively Greek music making me feel very welcome and of course it smelt amazing, the salty and meaty essence making my stomach grumble! Thankfully there wasn't a queue when I arrived, so it didn't take long - around 10 minutes- for my food to be ready.
Although it sounded rather big for a lunch order, I went for the gyros main as the owner Bill said it was a customer favourite - I chose the mixed meat option with extra garlic mayonnaise, and for my two sides I chose chips and salad, although rice was also an option. This main cost £13.60 and I also chucked in a £2.50 mosaic cake as I had it on good authority that it was deliciously handmade by co-owner Christina.
When I got back to the office and opened up my box, I was pleased by how stuffed it was with food, from portion size alone I already thought I was getting my money's worth before I tucked in. I also liked how each section of the meal was separated into individual compartments so, despite carrying it through Preston for ten minutes, everything looked neat and tidy.
I tried the meat first and it definitely exceeded my expectations; I have had more garlic drenched meats coming back from a night out than I care to admit so I thought I knew what taste I was going to get, but it was much better than past experiences. This chicken and pork were so well seasoned and perfectly flaky and crispy in parts; there was a depth of flavour not usually found in kebab meals and I'm glad I went for the mixed meat as it made each mouthful slightly different.
The garlic mayonnaise was also delicious and lacked the overly tangy and pungent taste you often find in cheap kebab houses; I would only note that I wish it had been placed over the chips as well, although maybe they would have if I had asked.
The chips themselves were also some of the tastiest I had tried. When I saw it was fries on the menu, I was slightly disappointed as I usually find them less flavoursome and greasier than chunkier chips however I was proven wrong on trying them. These fries were absolutely packed with flavour, they were very moorish, and I was surprised at the lack of grease.
In fact in general, the whole plate had much less grease than I would usually expect from this sort of meal- it all felt fresh and crisp. Whilst the meal was certainly filling me up, it wasn't sitting heavy on my belly or making me feel dehydrated with too much salt.
This freshness of course continued with the salad, which was much better than your takeaway’s obligatory side order mush. Made up of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumebr and onion, all the items were crisp and juicy, offering a refreshing change from the carbs and the salt - espcially once I shoved all the items into a wrap using the pitta bread!
The pitta bread itself was of high quality and generously portioned. The bread was fluffy and fresh but crisp enough to withstand the mayo covered heaps of food I lay on top of it. I ended up eating most of the meal in the form of a mixed wrap- harking back to my days as a student but feeling like I had certainly upgraded.
Although I was bust at the seams once I had finished the main, in the name of thorough journalism I perserved to try the cake, and I was so glad I did. The mosaic cake turned out to be two slices of pure chocolatey, biscuity goodness, which were some of the most moorish baked goods I have had in recent memory. They were the perfect end to a very tasty meal.
Overall, Greekouzina seems to be in a battle with its former identity as a takeaway on Marsh Lane and its new identity as a restaurant in the city centre. Elements of a takeaway remain - obviously that you can take food away and order it to your door, and that they use disposable cuttery and boxes- however its food is definitely of restaurant standard.
My main may have been served in a takeaway box, but it almost felt wrong eating it out of one- the various elements would have been much more at home on a plate served by a waiter at a sit down meal with a glass of wine as its accompaniment.
I can definitely see why Greekouzina has been named as one of the top 10 Greek restaurants/takaeways in the UK and now I just hope they go on to win it! Whether they do or not, I think I will have to start making Greekouzina a more frequent visit...
You can see my video review of Greekouzina above or in this watch article.