Heading home for a late tea of oven baked fishcakes and cauliflower cheese, we remembered we’d promised ourselves a visit to the Meze Grill.
We’d had takeout from there a while back and enjoyed the food and I thought the restaurant looked lovely. Tucked up Erskine Lane, it might be easy to miss it, but it’s worth seeking out.
It was very busy – 6.35ish on a Friday night – and we thought we would be unlucky. Front of house manager Sergio tried really hard to slot us in but as he had a table of four who hadn’t turned up for the 6.30 slot, he asked if we would wait 10 minutes or so.
I was going to go and return at a later date, but my husband agreed to hang around for bit.
It’s a pretty restaurant with Mediterranean tiles and posters of Turkey on the walls. The music was more of what I’d think of as the Cuban variety, lively and busy, which fitted with the atmosphere. There are several staff members, all efficient and friendly, and the food is cooked behind a clear window so you can watch the flame grill being used by the chefs. The smells are wonderful.
We ended up waiting about 20 minutes for a table. Opening the menu, the first thing we saw was the meze special – six cold meze, six hot and a mixed grill – for £24.95 a head, minimum of two diners. We were sold and didn’t even read the rest.
We were given two side plates and the first course came out on a round board that you could turn – six ramekins with hummus, baba ganoush, spicy potatoes, tabbouleh (finely diced tomato, cucumber, parsley and cracked wheat in olive oil and lemon juice), tzatziki (mint and yoghurt) and a red pepper and tomato puree – with warm freshly made bread.
I immediately thought there wasn’t enough bread to cover all the dips, so asked if we could perhaps have some more. This was happily done – but was a rookie error on our part.
All the dips were lovely and I was surprised to find how much I liked the baba ganoush – smoky aubergine with tahini, mint and oil. I’m not normally a fan of the egg plant, but this was my favourite.
We did eat our extra bread, finishing off the dips with my other half favouring the pepper and tomato puree (I have no idea of the name, sorry!).
The next board came out in fairly quick time. The dishes were two chicken balls in a spicy tomato sauce, Turkish chorizo, mushroom stew, aubergine stew, spicy potatoes and falafel.
With more bread.
Generally I’m a big fan of falafel, but this one was slightly different. The inside seemed to be softer to what I’ve had before. It was nice, but I’d expected it to be my favourite and that accolade was split between the spicy potatoes – fried potatoes with chillies and herbs – and the mushroom stew, with the chicken balls a close runner.
We were beginning to fill up and asked for a bottle of water to help us along the way. Again provided with a smile.
We were given fresh plates and our server started moving things on the table “to make room”.
This was soon followed by a huge rectangular board of meat, potatoes, rice, vegetables – and more bread (pictured above). Oh my word.
It looked incredible – but way too much for us bread-filled newbies!
There was chicken kofte, spicy chicken wings, chicken jeejay (marinated in saffron and easily my favourite), lamb ribs and chicken thighs. The potatoes were large and roasted (though not crispy) and there were grilled peppers and onions. The rice was delicately flavoured and the whole lot was brought together with bowls of garlic sauce and chilli dip.
We had to give up, but another great thing about here is they let you take it home.