This article first appeared in the January 2014 edition of the Wakefield magazine TopicUK. Please check the restaurant’s website for updated details of menus, prices, opening hours, etc.
I’ve sometimes heard people say that there’s nowhere to eat out in Wakefield. This makes me rather tetchy because it’s just not true! Wakefield has an abundance of snack bars, cafés, coffee shops, pubs and restaurants catering for just about every taste at any time of day – and the choice keeps on growing.
On an evening, there is an increasingly cosmopolitan selection of restaurants from which to choose. From the familiar Italian, Chinese and Indian establishments, to the more exotic Kashmiri, Thai and now even Japanese eateries, there really is something for everyone in and around Wakefield if you’re prepared to do your homework and seek them out, as more and more of the city’s resident diners and visitors are discovering for themselves. However, there is one restaurant that perhaps remains relatively undiscovered save to a discerning few.
Situated just off the Bull Ring and next to the Market Hall, the Delphi Café and Restaurant is a workaday yet busy café during the daytime: you may well have walked past it many times and not given it a second thought. Come back on an evening, though, and you will see it transformed into a cosy and welcoming Greek restaurant serving authentic Greek cuisine.
The Delphi originally opened as just a café but proprietor Alexios Apostolopoulos (Alex), who hails from Kalamata on mainland Greece, had long held a dream of opening his own restaurant in Wakefield having previously run a restaurant in Corfu back in the 1990s. When the opportunity came up to take over the unit next door, he and his partner of 14 years, Julie Firth, decided to enlarge their premises by knocking through into the shop next door to create a smart and spacious restaurant to complement the café operation. Now a year on, the Delphi is beginning to gather rave reviews on the internet site TripAdvisor.
All food is freshly prepared by Alex and his head chef Gianluca Chiarelli (Luca) while Julie operates ‘front of house’ in her role as general manager, looking after customers and extending a warm and friendly welcome to all. When things get busy, Julie can call on her team of up to 10 staff to help out.
The restaurant menu is not complicated being a set, three-course mezze meal for just £18.95. The price includes complimentary olives, bread and a mouth-tingling shot of Ouzo. The meal consists of mixed platters (mezze) for each course, which means you get to try a good range of traditional Greek food. So, with no need to deliberate over what to eat, there was plenty of time for my fellow dining companions and me to chat from the moment we sat down; no distracting menu to pour over here!
Starters are made up of a traditional fresh Greek Salad (tomato, cucumber and feta cheese), served with Prawn Saganaki (pan-fried prawns and feta with a hint of chilli), Keftedes (meat balls), Spanakopitta (spinach and feta pie), Tsatsiki, fresh bread and Hummus. This is almost a meal in itself and, at this point, I would suggest a little pause before moving onto the next course!
Pause or not, the main course is another platter comprising of Lamb Keleftiko, Moussaka, Pork Souvlaki and Beef Stifado, all served with mixed vegetables and rice.
Dessert is once more a platter but this time a selection of three different puddings – Tiramisu, Cheesecake and Baklava (filo pastry layered with walnuts, pistachios and honey).
Vegetarian platters are available (and were sampled by the writer!), including ‘aubergine slippers’ and Briam, which is a dish similar to ratatouille. Special diets can be catered for but it is always best to book in advance and discuss special requests at the time of booking.
There’s a straightforward drinks list with reasonably priced wines available by the bottle (£13.95 to £19.95) or by the glass, and beers and soft drinks, as well as tea and coffees.
So, what was it like? Well, this was my second time at the Delphi and it was every bit as good as the first. The food is truly delicious, but filling as there is no stinting on the quantity! Having been to Greece in the past, I can confirm the food matches the quality of anything I tasted while in the Hellenic Republic (to give the country its official name), even if Wakefield can’t quite compete with the scenery …. or the climate.
The restaurant operates on the basis that you book your table for the evening, so there is no pressure to vacate the table to make way for other diners and this helps to create a very relaxed and unhurried experience – the hardest thing we had to do all night was to choose the wine! Julie was very attentive throughout, explaining the courses as they were delivered to us. As well as the quality of the food, the Delphi also scores well on value for money. We came away both full and in full agreement – Greece is most definitely the word!
Western cuisine can trace its origins back to ancient Greece but there is no need to travel back in time or to cross a continent to sample the delights of a Mediterranean diet. Just make the Delphi your next destination. While the café is open seven days a week during the day, the restaurant opens from Wednesday evening through to Sunday evening. However, you are advised to book in advance as the restaurant may not open on Wednesday and Sunday if there are no advance bookings for those days. The restaurant can cater for up to 58 people and accepts party bookings, just ring them or call in to discuss your requirements. There is a special Christmas menu available with three courses for £22.95.
The restaurant does not accept card payments – so remember to take cash.
34 Northgate, Wakefield, WF1 3AN