Chichester's newest Greek restaurant is a hearty helping of Hellenic flavour
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If you’ve ever found yourself hungry in Bognor Regis you might know Apla Souvlaki quite well. The food truck, outside the railway station, has been there for several years, and it has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best takeaways in the area, well known for generous portions and authentic flavours.
But the company’s new venture – a sit down restaurant in Southgate, Chichester – bills itself as something similar, but crucially distinct. The gyros and souvlaki dishes for which Apla is best known are here and well accounted for, but they sit side by side on well-presented menus with home-cooked Greek classics like pastisio and melinzanoslata.
Of course, Apla’s gyros are hard to beat – perfectly seasoned meat served with thick slices of flatbread, a hearty helping of chips, fresh salad and a customary dollop of tzatsiki: it’s good enough to give you the giggles. Happily for all of us, though, these new additions to the menu more than live up to that high standard.
A starter consisting of feta cheese wrapped in filo pastry and smothered in honey is the stuff of foodie fantasy, and went down like something plucked from Zeus’ personal larder: the filo pastry offsets the creaminess of the cheese, and the honey brings it all together for a dish as characterful as it is indulgent.
The same was true of my main: a hearty helping of pasticio, served up how your mum might make it: big, piping hot, and with a palpable sense of house-proud care. If you’ve never had pasticio before, imagine a sort of Greek take on the lasagne: layers of pasta, meat and béchamel sauce, served with a little twist of nutmeg and cinnamon. Like that Italian favourite, it's the perfect evening dinner dish: delicious and homely.
That sense of care is one of the main things I took away from my time at Apla Souvlaki. I felt looked after. Staff were chatty and engaged, the restaurant was almost impossibly clean, and a shelf full of imported Greek snacks spoke to a laudable commitment to authenticity. Apla Souvlaki might be the new kid on the block but, if you ask me, it’s already a firm favourite.