Friday, September 10, 2010

Super Souk Kitchen

Souk Kitchen seems to have been about to open for a very long time but the wait is worth it. It’s a well-situated caff in Bristol opposite the Tobacco Factory and just down the road from Aldi should you feel like topping up on your supplies of bratwurst.

The way to go, given the generosity of the portions, is either to graze through plates of mezze or have a single main. We mistakenly did both - and shared a fantastically good flourless chocolate, Turkish coffee and cardamom cake (below) which left me feeling as if I needed to go and lie down for a couple of days. (My husband frogmarched me off for a bracing walk but I still had to hit the Gaviscon. My fault for being such a pig.)

We barely scratched the surface of the mezze which in addition to the usual suspects (hummus, tzatziki and tabouleh) included Egyptian-spiced lentils with seasoned yoghurt and crispy onions (the yoghurt tastes homemade and is great), loubyeh (green beans with a spicy tomato sauce), an Afghan boulanee (a sort of spiced potato samosa with tamarind relish, below) and a baby gem, radish and feta salad with a saka jabin dressing which was perfectly nice but not quite as exciting as the rest.

My tagine of spiced lamb meatballs with a ‘cracked egg’ was terrific, delicately spiced with a luxuriantly rich tomato sauce though the accompanying couscous was a bit soggy. My husband had the equally good grilled chicken with lemon, chilli and za’atar, which given the calorific overload I almost wish I'd ordered instead.

They also sell a small selection of middle-eastern ingredients like pomegranate molasses and barberries together with some free recipe sheets to tempt you to make the dish you’ve just eaten, including the chocolate cake (below). Money from some of the dishes goes to Action against Hunger which is good to see and the restaurant is a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Finally they do an interesting-looking breakfast menu which is served until 5pm. Should appeal to the large local student population - though grilled sardines may be a bit beyond them even at that hour . . .

All in all a great - and very reasonably priced - addition to the Bristol dining scene. The energetic proprietors apparently open a new chippy Fishminister on Whiteladies Road in a few weeks’ time. I’ll be interested to see what spin they put on that.

We ate at Souk Kitchen as guests of the restaurant.

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