Go Greek, Layton, Blackpool

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Basically, I’m like the queen. Not in that I mostly wear pastel shade dresses, with matching overcoats and hats, and children give me flowers at every event I attend. Nor in the fact that I like a bit of a nosh on some Greek*, I’m just alluding to the fact that my birthday is celebrated over a couple of days. Yep, a couple of days after my birthday (where I went to Northcote), I went to Blackpool to see my mum and go for a birthday meal with her.

I used to live in Layton, and when I did your options for eating out were limited to a bag of crisps down at The Layton Institute (a properly weird place then, and still weird now, the only difference now is you don’t have to be a member), and with my only experience of Greek dining being a thoroughly weird place in my hometown of Fleetwood (where I grew up), I wanted to try this place that had popped up since I’d left Blackpool for pastures new.

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We were a bit early, but that wasn’t a problem, they sat us in the newer, bright airy part of the restaurant, which was a relief, as I was taking photos. The front of the restaurant looks nice enough, but I would have had to use the flash. I tried a new beer, the Greek Mythos. It’s a pretty standard lager, but I did like the glass. We ordered off their Early Bird menu, and with it being available online didn’t need long to decide what to order.

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I started with the spanacopita, a mixture of spinach and feta cheese, wrapped in filo pastry. This was nice, although I would have preferred a bit more feta cheese just to amp up the salt, as the spinach was very strong, but I like spinach, so this wasn’t too much of a problem.

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My mum had the manitaria skorthata, or garlic mushrooms to you and me. Garlic mushrooms will always be a classic dish in bistro style restaurants, and will always be around. They had a good whack of garlic, and I really liked the earthenware dish it came in, and most importantly, once they’d cooled down a bit, my mum enjoyed them. Not my bag, but I prefer to try things I’ve never tried before.

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The highlight of the starters for me, was Sara’s burekia, pork, herbs, spices and parmesan cheese wrapped in filo pastry. These were delicious, and they had a lovely hit of cinnamon, and I love cinnamon. I wish I’d ordered these for myself, but at least I got to try them.

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For the mains we all ordered pretty much the same thing, the souvlaki pitta, marinated Greek kebabs of either pork, chicken, or both, cooked slowly on skewers, with handmade pittas and chips… of course, I am a fusspot, and I don’t really like chips. I like crunchy crispy thin as you like French fries, and I like chippy chips, doused in so much salt and vinegar, your face squirms when you eat them (smothered in gravy, naturally), and I’m pleased to say that swapping my chips for Greek roast potatoes was no trouble at all!

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The meat was delicious and tender, and that really showed how low and slow the meat had been cooked, it was lovely. The pitta was tasty too, especially when dipped into the tzatziki. I was a bit thrown with it being thick, and cut into wedges, but I was reliably informed that’s how the Greek do their pittas, so that’s me told. The roast potatoes had a lovely flavour as well, but I could only manage a few, knowing I had to save room for pudding.

Before I move onto desserts, I just want to address one problem with the food that was present in all of the food so far, except my mum’s mushrooms. That problem was the side salad. I really would have expected something more akin to a traditional Greek salad on the side, with cos lettuce, red onion, tomato, cucumber, olives, and feta cheese, dressed with a dressing made with Greek olive oil. Sadly, the side salads we were given came straight from an English BBQ from the mid 90s… iceberg lettuce, half a sliced tomato and some chunkily sliced raw red onion, with no dressing. I feel confident that Spiros and Glenda, who own Go Greek don’t have salads like the ones we had on the side of our plates when they eat at home, and I think people do expect a bit more from a side salad nowadays. Anyway, with all that said, onto puds.

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For afters, we all had the baklava bite and ice cream, if you’re unfamiliar with baklava, a) remedy that, immediately and 2) it’s layers of filo pastry, finely chopped nuts and honey, all baked til it goes crispy on the top, and unctuous and sickly sweet in the middle and moist at the bottom with the honey syrup. I have never eaten baklava as delicious as this. This was the star of the meal.

We made our exit as a table of about 12 blokes turned up, making oh-so-hilarious quips, asking “when do we smash the plates?” and asking “do you have any of that cake, battya?” Yeah, they looked like they could be a rowdy lot, so that was definitely our cue to leave.

I wish Go Greek had been in Layton when I lived there, as I would definitely have been a regular face, either eating in or getting take away from there. It would sure as hell beat the bog standard chippy tea or elephant leg style kebab that I had to make do with when I lived there.

(*sorry mum)
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