For a new restaurant on the high street, Zeytin offers a nice splash of Turkish food in a nice setting.  ★★★

As a new restaurant to the Greenwich area I felt it only right to meet up with a friend for a catch up and try the place out. At first you could mistake Zeytin for any other restaurant, with little to suggest it’s Turkish in either its décor or seating, but the menu is certainly a different story. From skewers to spicy grills, from cold to hot dishes there is plenty to choose from, and it was difficult choice. Once we finally decided and got our order in we were presented with bread, a spicy (and I mean spicy) tomato paste, a yoghurt sauce and a bowl of olives. As opposed to a lot of restaurants and a little surprising for London, the finger food was free and a substantial sharing size too.

The starter was not long to follow and I started with the Hellim and Sucuk, or Halloumi and Spiced Sausage translated – I have to admit to loving having a bit of grilled Halloumi and thought it would be perfect with the added spice of a sausage, but it was a bit of a disappointment. With the sausage overpowering the plate, any flavour the cheese and bed of rocket had was lost, leaving me with, what felt like, a sausage starter. Although as a starter goes it was certainly not shy on portion size making it good value for money, albeit slightly filling.

I eagerly awaited the main of Sarma Kuzu Beyti, or Minced Lamb wrapped in thin bread translated (served with a tomato and yoghurt sauce, and rice) – This had all the promise of a great dish, especially with the coal grill they prepare all food with. What I got was a minced lamb pita, chopped and placed on the plate in an attempt to make it look interesting, although again, a substantial portion. It was all swimming in yoghurt and the tomato sauce was barely visibly on each pita slice, which was a shame as I think this would of created the much needed flavour. Instead it felt a bit plain and dull, with the plain yoghurt overpowering the whole dish. The minced lamb though was certainly well cooked, my jaw has never had such a workout chewing through both the meat and dense pita bread.

Now when it comes to dessert I have a philosophy that there is always room for one, but this time both me and my friend were ready to leave, go our separate ways and lay down in a bloated heap back home. To my surprise they didn’t have a dessert menu which was a blessing in disguise. However this didn’t stop them placing a small bowl of rice pudding on the table, on the house, and so, obviously not to be rude, we ate it. It was certainly a creamy rice pudding although again it could of done with that something bit extra. It’s also a good job I don’t embarrass easily as well, one bowl, two spoons felt a bit more intimate than a meal with a friend should be, but this maybe just my own preference (and I know I shouldn’t complain, the pudding was on the house after all).

Our evening was accompanied by a Turkish white wine, Pamukkale Sanfoni. The wine was good, it wasn’t acidic like some cheaper offerings, but it didn’t have much of a fruity taste either. It was an okay mid range white wine and nothing special.

As for service, Zeytin is a new restaurant and so the staff are still a little inexperienced but this didn’t detract from the good service we received. Our waitress was friendly, ensured we were looked after and kept our wine topped up which is always the important part.

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Considering the restaurant is new, and still trying to establish itself, it was a good experience. It was warm, inviting, friendly and fairly priced for what we ordered as well as the added extras. It did however leave me feeling underwhelmed. The food was nice, the wine was nice, the staff were nice and that kind of sums Zeytin up, a nice restaurant but nothing special.

REVIEWED BY: Robin Joyce | @Robin_joyce
ADDRESS: 63 Greenwich High Road, London, Se10 8JL
WEBSITE: www.zeytinrestaurant.co.uk
STAR RATING: ***
COST RATING: ££ (explained)
TIPPING POLICY: No suggested tip added to the bill, gratuity at own discretion.

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