Experiencing a different culture’s dietary habits really broadens your horizons where the use of ingredients is concerned, some familiar and some not so. Kayi Mezze Grill, named after the owners two daughters, is based in Mickleover and features a mix of delightful Turkish and Syrian cuisine , refreshingly clean to the palette. But we will come back to the food later.
Situated on the corner of Vicarage Road just off Uttoxeter Road in Mickleover, Kayi Mezze Grill has a crisp clean look from the outside and it just gets better as you walk though the door. The work on the restaurant was designed and carried out by owner Mr Ahmed Binsh who we were delighted to meet during the evening. The pale stone work, with vertical strip lighting built in, was evocative of a traditional Turkish restaurant, and the huge, white floor tiles sparkled cleanliness. Having been open for two years, with an obvious gap whilst the Covid pandemic raged through the country, the restaurant and takeaway is now in full swing.
Dining with good friends, we received a warm welcome from MJ our host for the evening. Whilst we enjoyed our Morretti Zero beer, MJ was happy to go through the menu and explain how the dishes were all prepared from fresh produce all sourced locally, and many of the vegetables and herbs were grown in the owners garden, with the emphasise on organic produce wherever possible. Our dining companions had experienced Turkish food and were already keen fans. We needed a little help and were grateful for the descriptions on the menu. Behind us, and behind a surround of toughened glass, the chef was busily turning food over on a giant grill above glowing Peruvian, charcoal embers.
It was a warm evening so we chose the sharing platter for 4, from the Mezze cold starters. The selection arrived with a thin, lightly cooked flat bread each, and then it was up to us to dip in to the selection of dishes. There was hummus, garnished with pomegranate and chickpeas, Mutabak and Muhammara with its mix of sweet and savoury, and hint of spices. Muttabal, my personal favourite, made from grilled Egg plant (Aubergine)blended with Tahini and spices, and Baba Ghanouch, again with egg plant as a core ingredient. The freshness of the ingredients, and oils used really stood out to me.
MJ serve us a little extra course here of Halloumi; charcoal seared cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep’s milk, and barbecued spring lamb ribs, marinated in special herbs and spices then roasted over the Peruvian wood charcoal grill. Grilled King Prawns in a signature marinate, left overnight before being smoked over Peruvian wood charcoal with a special sauce.
Lamb Kofta was Esther’s favourite, tender ground spring lamb seasoned with in-house spices fused with onions and parsley, shaped into kebabs, and then smoked over Peruvian wood charcoal and served with a fresh salad.
My choice was the chicken shawarma, a dish of succulent marinated chicken, layered on a vertical rotisserie where it’s slow-roasted in its own juices until perfectly tender and extra flavourful served on a flat bread along with rice and bulgur wheat and a side salad. A generous portion which was absolutely delicious.
Meanwhile Brian was carefully de-constructing his Sea bass, which also was marinated overnight in herbs and spices and then smoke roasted over the Peruvian wood charcoal, whilst saying how fresh and succulent the white flesh was.
True to form, my wife chose the grilled king prawns. Again these are slit along their back before being left overnight in Kayi Mezze’s signature marinade and then smoked over Peruvian wood charcoal and adorned with an in-house special sauce. Finally served with the freshest of salads and generous chunks of lemon.
After such a lovely evening, we just needed a small taste of something sweet for dessert and Baklava was the perfect thing to share, with its chopped pistachio nuts and honey .
With extensive experience gained from working all over the Mediterranean, Kayi Mezze Grill have created a restaurant where you can experience signature dishes, carefully chosen from a variety of regions, by their chefs.
On reflection, I thought that this had been the perfect evening for my introduction to Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine, one which I truly enjoyed. I was impressed by the simplicity of the dishes, and how the fresh ingredients were enhanced by the light touch of added herbs and spices. Everything was cooked freshly as you ordered it, and as a bonus I also realised how very much healthier food prepared and served in this way is.
All in all we had a fantastic evening and agreed that this was a place to revisit to explore more of the menu, to immerse ourselves in the Turkish and Syrian style of dining.
Kayi Mezze Grill also provide a takeaway service and offer a discount if you collect.
There is parking for a few cars behind the restaurant, with two free car parks in close proximity.
Kayi Mezze Grill
3 Vicarage Rd, Mickleover DE3 0EA.
Tel: 01332 595861