Lately we’ve found ourselves in parts of London we wouldn’t normally be and therefore FINALLY trying restaurants we’ve been meaning to get to for ages. Hence, last Friday night finding ourselves in Fitzrovia and settling into a table for two at Kyseri, the latest restaurant from the dream team behind Shoreditch’s much-loved Oklava.
The dining room itself felt like a breath of fresh air. Beautiful big windows allowed for the last of the evening light to flood through, marble tables were packed closely together making couples move in closer across flickering candle light.
All the dishes are designed to share and you can either go for the set menu (£45) which will rattle through all of their ‘best bits’ (with the option of wine pairing at an additional £40) or go it alone.
The menu is FIERCE, so it was a real effort to refrain from ordering one of everything. We adore these flavours – it’s exactly this sort of thing that would make it onto our death row meal. But despite familiar components, dishes felt very modern and fresh. I mean, for a start, who knew Turkey was famous for stuffed pasta? Not us. Which is a crying shame because we LOVE pasta and now feel like we have years of making up to do. Which is just as well as we’d very happily eat here till the end of time.
It’s worth noting that the wine list is pretty exciting. We’ve written about our love for Greek wine in the past, but hadn’t much experience of Turkish vino. Well we’ll certainly be seeking it out again after discovering an exceptionally well-priced, herbaceous crisp white. Wines are listed in order of body which is supremely helpful, although our gorgeous waiter happily bought us out three samples to choose from before selecting our carafe (we also love that all the wines come by the glass, carafe or bottle).
Food-wise we kicked things off with a board of sliced sesame bread served alongside beef dripping butter (which was every bit as delicious as that sounds) and underneath that was a smudge of aubergine jam. Chunks of feta arrived next with blobs of fiery green chilli salsa and very clever candied watermelon. Silky smooth hummus is elevated with carefully selected wisps of salad leaves for scooping, topped with herbs, seeds, pickles and chunks of pastrima (a type of air-dried cured beef). A perfectly formed cornbread was fought over to scoop up the last speck.
From the pasta section we were encouraged to order the beef and sour cherry manti – a plate of four pretty-as-a-picture stuffed dumplings in a tomato-chilli butter sauce with a swirl of creamy yoghurt finished with a generous helping of pine nuts. Heaven. Lastly but by no means least, a perfectly cooked piece of butter poached hake with aubergine, sweet peas and basil.
We appreciated the pace of the dishes, all coming out in a sensible order with our sauce splattered plates switched throughout. Sadly we had to rush off before dessert, but if Turkish food floats your boat, it’s safe to say you’ll be in total nirvana at Kyseri.