The people of Preston don’t always realise what they have on their doorstep.
It may not be rivalling mighty Manchester just yet but the dining options in and around the city have exploded in recent years with the new found confidence of a city on the up.
This is not just reflected in the chains which have chosen to make Preston their next move but in the number of independent start-up restaurant, cafes and takeaways in all manner of foodie specialisms that have sprung up, many a real vote of confidence in an expanding marketplace.
These are entrepreneurs, individuals putting their money, creativity and reputations where our mouths are and we need to support them.
It is these inventive business people striving for excellence that come to define the personality of our city centres and here in Preston it is no different.
With Preston abuzz and myriad plans to bring people into the city, Paluca’s restaurant and bar is one of those family-run, creative affairs, trying to make a go of things just off the city centre main artery that is Fishergate.
Opened in August 2017, I personally had never heard of it until hunting for an evening coffee spot ahead of another event and happened to walk down Guildhall Street.
I dropped in for a quick coffee (from an impressive menu) and vowed to come back and try out the food - which judging by other customers was proving a hit.
It certainly invites you in with its glittering deli counter and endless options of flavoured hot chocolate and sweet and savoury pancakes.
Proprietors Tony and Val had a dream with this place.
Inspired by their mutual love of quality tea, coffee and crepes, they decided to to offer Balkan-inspired grilled cuisine and sweet and savoury crepes alongside a premium drinks and Italian coffee offering.
You can go in for lunch, for dinner or simply pop in for a coffee and cake, eaten in or on the run.
Just what Preston needed, in other words.
So we popped in on a Saturday evening for an early dinner, full of expectation of a delicious feast in a small, buzzy, environment.
The food and service was amazing.
The only problem was that we found ourselves, initially at least, the only customers in a lovely, trendy, restaurant that should by all accounts be heaving.
I can identify no reason at all why it was not.
The menu is comprehensive and different, the food is fresh, it’s delicious, the menu is creative and staff lovely - and what’s more the prices are more than reasonable.
We settled down for a multi-courser, starting with a couple of dishes from the tapas-style menu including delicious and piping hot pitta, fresh hummus and olives and meats - quite mouth watering and indulgent.
Specifically we opted for the olives, feta cheese, salami and pitta bread, alongside the hummus and olives version.
Luxurious cheese platters were also on offer (partakers of ‘Febudairy’ take note)
The tapas dishes were from £4 to £5.50.
This course alone, perhaps with cheeky glass of wine, would be sufficient for a lunch stop on a shopping spree but we were determined to hit at least two courses.
Next up, it seemed rude- after a recommendation from the manager - not to opt for a kofta.
Together we ordered both the beef and the lamb versions .
They arrived adorned on a giant pitta with extras - the idea is you can roll them up and eat them ([perfect on the go) though I just used a knife and fork, old-style.
Both were fresh delicious and tangy with subtle flavours.
This is the point at which we should have ordered dessert but you’ll be unsurprised to hear with all that pitta bread we were stuffed to the gills.
The bill was a tad over £30.
When I return I will leave space to take advantage of the vast amount of sweet crepes on offer and I also want to try something from the hot chocolate menu .
Th luxury white chocolate caught my eye though the menu also ranges from Whittard’s Salted Caramel, creme brulee, to mint, raspberry ripple and rocky road. (I had to list them all because I’m a fan)
Paluca’s is a a little gem in Preston and I highly recommend you try it.
We need to support enterprises like this offering a quality experience in the city centre - so on Valentine’s Day make loving your local businesses your priority.
Love it or lose it.
LINK: Paluca's Preston
Please note this review was undertaken - as are all Lancashire Post food reviews - as a paying customer and without the knowledge of staff.