Food: 9 Drink: 8 Atmosphere: 7 Price: ££ Overall: 8.5
Soukitchen offers a wonderful balance of East Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern flavours to create simple, tasty and intriguingly delicious dishes.
This characterful independent restaurant is creating bold, flavoursome dishes from a cuisine culture left over from the Ottoman Empire that is largely still unknown to us Brits. While the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi have been making Middle Eastern spices and cooking techniques more familiar, the rich food heritage of the most Eastern part of the Mediterranean is only just beginning to receive the recognition it deserves from its neighbours in Europe. Souk Kitchen plays with spices like za’atar, sumac and tahini in ways that make them a cut above others in Bristol. Their Turkish and Moroccan hidden treasures are fused with some more classical Mediterranean influences such as Greek olives giving the menu a well-rounded array of choice.
Souk’s two restaurants enjoy ideal locations across Bristol, opposite the Tobacco Factory theatre in Southville and just off the high street at the top of Whiteladies. Awarded best Mediterranean restaurant in the Bristol Good Food Awards 2014, 2015 and 2016, this is the perfect restaurant to take visiting parents, grandparents, god parents or anyone who is willing to pay really! Whilst not expensive, and certainly good value for money, Souk’s price range does push the average student’s budget with the dinner menu coming in at around £20 per head for a main and a glass of wine, and the lunch menu around £15, although there are excellent £10 lunch time deals.
Divided into three, Souk’s menu offers Brunch from 10am-3pm, Lunch from 12pm-3pm and Dinner 5.30pm-10pm, with last orders at 8.30pm. Brunches range from locally sourced, classic fry-ups to shaksouka- delicious eggs poached in an onion, herb and spicy tomato sauce number. The dinner menu is an extension of the lunch menu, with a great range of mezzes and larger plates to choose from. Between 3 of us we opted for 7 mezzes to share and it was more than enough given the generous portions Souk serve. The real standouts were the chargrilled haloumi topped with a sweet mango pickle with mustard seeds that complemented the saltiness of the haloumi perfectly; an ample portion of mussels with classic garlic bread and sauce but with a Middle Eastern twist; delicately battered squid on a bed of spirallised courgette mousse; and chorizo with dill infused mash potato. Make sure to check out the specials on offer, as there are always new and exciting dishes to be tried.
The larger plates are equally delicious, the only set back is that choosing one dish leaves so much on the menu left to try. With the fish of the day caught and delivered from Cornwall in the morning, it is as fresh as could be. All the dishes are colourful and vibrant, bursting with those Persian flavours that will leave you purring and asking for more. Each is well thought through; interesting, varied and original, combining the right amount of herbs, spices and seasoning with well-cooked veg, succulent meat and fresh fish.
One of the most exciting restaurants in Bristol, Souk Kitchen remains a relaxed, low-key dinning experience morning, noon and night. It brings the rich and varied food culture from our neighbours in the Middle East to our very doorstep in the middle of Bristol.
http://soukitchen.co.uk/ Southville, Clifton
Photography: Jacob Colman and Soukitchen