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Restaurant review: Hit and myths

Ben Patey joins the Eureka crowd and finds happiness, that's no accident, hiding on Myrtle Parade

Published on August 21st 2008.


Restaurant review: Hit and myths

ONCE upon a time, a Greek scholar by the name of Archimedes sat struggling for the answer to a particularly irksome quandary.

When the penny finally dropped, he shouted out a phrase that would later become known the world over. Eureka's literal meaning, 'I have found it,' is also an apt name for a Greek food place that you certainly wouldn't unearth by accident.

The myrtle was a plant held sacred by Aphrodite and worshipped as a plant of mystery. But the only mystery here was how a restaurant could possibly flourish amid boarded up shops and the odd redundant shopping trolley

The restaurant is located on Myrtle Parade, a short hike from Catharine Street, an odd place in that the myrtle is a rather nice flowering plant and this particular parade is patently bare of any such ostentatious flora. Back in the day, the myrtle was a plant held sacred by Aphrodite and worshipped as a plant of mystery. But the only mystery here was how a restaurant could possibly flourish amid boarded up shops and the odd redundant shopping trolley.

The Greek goddess of love would not be happy.

But the incongruity only grew upon entering the restaurant. It was full. And it was only seven o'clock. It was almost as if we’d walked in on someone’s dinner party. Where had all these people come from?

We were welcomed warmly. The wine and starters came before I even had a chance to notice the strategically arranged plants that thankfully blocked the outside world. People were chattering cheerfully, the chefs were cooking gaily, the music was playing merrily… perhaps I should save the superlatives for the food?

The hummous (£4) wasn’t too heavy on the garlic, imperative if you’re both a regular Saturday night diner and Sunday morning churchgoer. The soft Greek bread that accompanied it was warm and fresh. The haloumi (£6.50) was fine but could have used more mint, while the lounza, which came with it, reminded me of no more than processed meat.

The olives (£2.50) however were full of zest and deep flavour, and went down nicely with a bottle of Makedonikos Tsantali Rose (£13). The white bait (£4.80) were OK – perhaps a little too salty.

Perhaps also a little too accusing. The ones remaining on the plate eyed me angrily when I tried to take photos of them, so I devoured the blighters to teach them a lesson.

There were many tempting mains but the monkfish kebab (£17) from the specials board was a beast and almost defeated me. However, after my standoff with the whitebait there was no way I was going to be intimidated by another fish, and certainly not one this tasty. There were hints of oregano, rosemary, garlic and lemon, but the waiter kept his cards very close to his chest when I asked him what the fish was cooked in.

It came with chargrilled courgettes, onions and peppers, and the vibrant looking salad was as fresh as I’ve encountered outside the Mediterranean. It came with rice and chips which should also get a special mention – piping hot, chunky and well seasoned.

My friend's chicken kebab (£10.50) went down just as well: huge, tender chunks of meat full of fresh, herby flavours, and the polar opposite of most of the dishes that go by the same name in Liverpool's takeaway haunts.

As soon as we’d strolled in, it was obvious people weren't finding this place by mistake.

Aside from the quality of the food and the excellent service, a massive plus point was being spared the sight of a belly dancer being wheeled out (often literally) at 9:30pm when the back of the restaurant turns into a mini-disco.Of course, after the colossal kebabs we’d eaten, desserts would have just been gluttonous, and the Caramelita ice cream (£3.50) will no doubt earn me a telling off next time I visit the dentist. Bloody lovely though. The Llokumi (Turkish delight - £2.50) was also very sugary but if you’re that way inclined – well, they’re your teeth.

A negative point, if you can call it such a thing, was actually the vastness of choice on the menu. But only because I was continuously looking over my shoulder at what other diners had ordered and everything looked truly delectable. There are over 30 choices on the starters menu alone.

The only time a plate was in danger of being smashed was in shock when I was given the bill unaware that the only way of paying was by cash or cheque – no card. If we hadn’t had to club all our pennies together to pay for the meal, we would have left a bigger tip. It was certainly worth it.After long looking for a place I could feast with a group of friends, Eureka, I had finally found it.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 7/10 Food
4/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Eureka
7 Myrtle Parade
Liverpool L7
0151 709 7225

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8 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousAugust 21st 2008.

I have always loved Eureka. Best Greek in Liverpool. No gimmicks like other places. Can you still BYO????

AnonymousAugust 21st 2008.

Like it in here.Much better than the Christakis which fancies itself a bit to much for my liking.

SJCAugust 21st 2008.

This is truly a place where word of mouth counts! It is not situated on the 13th floor of a glass building overlooking the city or on the Albert Dock. The surroundings of Eureka are not kind to the eye but the food is delicious. If you close your eyes, you would swear you were in Greece for real with the ambience from the diners and waiters. Just goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by its cover!

Archie MeadesAugust 21st 2008.

Aye, Harry. In those days a main course was £2.40! You couldn't cook an equivalent at home for so little, and you'd have all the steam and washing up to cope with! A cracking little place!

Harris TottleAugust 21st 2008.

I don't know why you lot are moaning about the service! In the 1980s when I discovered it The Eureka was a Greek café – you went to the counter, the food was dished out AND YOU CARRIED IT TO YOUR TABLE YOURSELF. Whingeing ponces should go to a more expensive nosherie if they want to moan about service!

Liverpool ConfidentialAugust 21st 2008.

You can indeed still take your own booze although Mersey Wine and Spirits (a couple of doors down) is currently closed because the owner's on holiday! They should be open again though any day.

Greek geekAugust 21st 2008.

I have to agree with the first "anonymous". Good food but I have also experienced a bit of snotty service, and they have no right to be snotty, given the location!

AnonymousAugust 21st 2008.

The food has always been perfect in there and I've taken many visitors to the city along but sometimes the service leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, I could never get my partner to go in there after the first time because it was so appalling on a very quiet Tuesday night. Conversely then another time when I went with a much larger party on a busy Saturday, half the tables main meals arrived over 30 minutes after the first half had received there's. Their concession to appease us for this blunder was not to charge us corkage. Hardly generous.The food would still convince me to go back again though.

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Shhh. This is right next to my office. A gem of a place for a tasty (& healthy) lunch. Don't tell…

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