Steadfastly anchoring the end of Myrtle Parade, the Eureka Restaurant has been around for years. I have vivid memories of being taken there as a child. My parents liked the simple well cooked food combined  – I imagine – with the simple, undercooked prices. I, as a stubborn ten year old, for some reason hated it and on several occasions refused to go in, spending the evening sitting in the car. My mum would come out with warm pita bread and put it on the passenger seat, I would flatly refuse to eat it. Of course once she was out of sight I would gobble it down, and later claim that I’d thrown it away.

I’m not sure why I hated it so much, I think the food was too exotic for me, but as I got older I came to like the Eureka, its warm friendly atmosphere and great food were hard to deny, our family were regular and enthusiastic customers. However, that was well over a decade ago, and as with other restaurants, as competition increased in the city, the Eureka slipped off our radar.

Last week, my family returned to what was once a regular haunt, thinking back my last visit was in 1999 at the latest. Apart from the doubling in size, an expansion into next door, little has changed, a cozy restaurant with a bustling kitchen at the rear. Cheery staff showed us to our table, and the familiar smells wafted forth from the kitchen, to be honest I had a sudden desire to be in the back of a Volvo 340 DL listening to my MC Hammer tape. I resisted the urge and took my seat for what was, essentially, a simple Greek meal – perfectly cooked – in convivial surroundings.

Our starters were humus, taramasalata, grilled hulumi, plaki, tahini and whitebait, all mopped up with plenty of warm pita bread. It was lovely nothing fancy just great tasty food. I was washing it down with a rather large bottle of crisp Keo beer and my brother assured me the savuingon blanc everyone else had, was very drinkable (high praise from insufferable wine snob).

Mains consisted of kebabs of chicken, lamb and monkfish, stifado beef stew and char grilled lamb cutlets. The stew (£12.00) was soft tender and full of flavour with sweet little shallots. The kebabs were all well seasoned and tasty, the chicken (£11.00) and monkfish (£12.50) were particularly tender, although the lamb (£12.50) was quite chewy. The lamb cutlets (£12.00) were sweet tender pink lamb with a beautiful chargrilled crust on the outside. Then came the surprise highlight of the meal, something I suddenly recalled with great affection, something that was so good in the past I must have deliberately forgotten them so as not to suffer in the knowledge of their absence. What arrived was the best plate of chips in the city, soft and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside. Seriously they don’t get better than this, what ensued was duel of knives, forks and fingers as the five of us battled to acquire more than our fair share. Desert of baklava was sweet and nutty, a classic Greek dish, and topped off what was a very generous and successful meal.

The Eureka has survived for over 20 years: through two serious recessions, due to offering both good food and good prices. Starters hover around the five pounds mark and mains vary from nine to fourteen pounds. This Mediterranean/Middle Eastern style food is more readily available in the city these days than when it first opened, however, but it’s good to know that the Eureka still does it as well as anybody.

Eureka Restaurant, Myrtle Parade

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