Thursday, 3 November 2011

Souk Kitchen - Bristol

We've been down in Bristol visiting my mum, before we move back here in a week's time, and she treated us to an alternative Sunday lunch at Souk Kitchen in Southville.

Me and the missus ate here just after it opened last year. We went intending to have just the lunchtime special, but that was so tasty that we asked for the menu again and ordered a selection of the hot and cold mezze, before ordering dessert. The food was memorably tasty and we have always looked forward to visiting again.

Standards haven't changed in the 18 months since we first went.

A large part of the enjoyment and excitement of eating here is the lack of familiarity with the food. Without knowing what something is (zhoug, anyone?) it's hard to expect what it will taste like, and that's something I find very enticing. Thankfully the front of house staff are patient enough to deal with a long list of questions.

They are also comfortable with making sure the kitchen accomodates dietary requirements. I have a fairly severe nut allergy and need to make sure food doesn't contain nuts and won't be affected by cross-contamination in the kitchen.

And so to starters. As my mum isn't fond of overly spiced food we thought we'd start things easily with dips and bread. A suprisingly colourful treat:

There were three different dips: cauliflower and olive, carrot and rosewater and beetroot and tahini, served with freshly made flatbreads. The cauli and olive dip was subtle and satisfying. The carrot and rosewater at first tasted like fine turkish delight but then developed into a very carroty savoury taste which was totally moreish. It was a similar story with the beetroot dip which had the beetroot flavour turned up to 11.

We had a range of mains. My mum went for lamb kebabs as she'd been advised that this would be a mild dish. Which it was. The kebabs were succulent and well flavoured and came with saffron rice which contained sultanas and caramelised onions.

My missus went for a Persian fish curry which she reckoned was the best curry she's ever had, and she had a few of a very high standard during our travels around South-East Asia. The fish had been cooked delicately in freshly made curry sauce full of bright yellows and greens.

I went for a beef koresh with omani limes and prunes, which was a well balanced blend of fruity, savoury and meaty. It seemed unusual to have beef in a middle eastern recipe but it worked really well.

I can't wait to go back to be honest. The hot and cold mezze menu demands some attention, as do the evening specials which change regularly. Goat shwarma was on offer when we ate, and I think offering goat on a menu speaks volumes about the confidence of the kitchen. A confidence which is not misplaced here.

Thinking of eating out in Bristol, read more reviews of Bristol Restaurants.

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