With so many food and drink choices in the central areas of Brighton and Hove, it’s easy to overlook the great cooking that is happening out in the city’s suburban wilderness. Well – by ‘wilderness’ – I mean places such as St Georges Road to the east and Boundary Road to the west; not exactly difficult to get to as the number one bus connects both via Churchill Square but perhaps not the best marketed of local high streets.
I wrote about Boundary Road in Autumn last year, reflecting on how you can genuinely ‘taste the world’ – from Brazil to Japan – on this ever-improving but still a bit shabby high street. But from the look of the coffee shops, pubs and some of the restaurants, the slow – yet inevitable – steady march of social gentrification is clearly underway.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve dined at Mediterra Kitchen a few times. Located just a stones-throw from Portslade Station, I haven’t really had chance to write about this bustling Turkish restaurant before as I’ve usually been way too involved in being the life-and-soul of the party at a Saturday night birthday or family and friends get-together. Even to a seasoned food and drink pro, I know that free-flowing wine and restaurant review note-making are not natural bedfellows when it comes to accuracy.
So – with all my critical faculties for once fully functioning – I booked a Sunday lunch with my sister and the ‘Olds’ last month with the promise of the taste of traditional kebab with a Mediterranean touch.
Having forgotten my sunglasses, at lunchtime the restaurant’s interiors are a tad ‘blinging’; there’s a lot going on with those glittering walls and the neon lighting but I guess that’s why it works so well as an uplifting evening venue.
As you’d expect from a Mediterranean restaurant, there’s plenty of choice and all the classics are there. This genre of cuisine never has to be complicated or push-boundaries; simple, time-honoured recipes utilising fresh produce and executed with skilled cooking are the order of the day and Mediterra Kitchen nails it.
Although I wanted a lamb shish kebab all for myself, the general feeling on the table was that a selection of dishes was preferable. In retrospect, despite only being four of us, we should have sat at a table for six people as a veritable rainbow of plates came thick and fast, rapidly filling the table
Grilled halloumi, calamari, smoked aubergine, chicken and lamb shish, feta salad, spicy Turkish sausage, deep-fried courgette and feta… you get the idea. Everything screams fresh and home-made. Food done well and to the Turkish culinary playbook.
With endless extra dishes of salad, flatbread, rice and couscous there’s no chance of leaving Mediterra Kitchen hungry. But – as with most cuisines from the Med – there’s little here that’s processed or unduly fatty. If you’ve dietaries – vegetarian, vegan, dairy free or gluten intolerant – there’s plenty of deliciousness to be enjoyed.
Service is helpful and always with a smile; the staff clearly not only want you to have a good meal but also a great time. That personable touch is increasingly important nowadays when so many lesser eateries don’t appear to attract any staff who have even the vaguest concept of what hospitality is.
As an aside, with a choice of ten starters and ten hearty mains, the Monday to Friday lunch deal represents excellent value with two courses for £12.95.
The weekend lunch and evening dinner a la carte menu is naturally a bit more pricy but I can guarantee you’ll leave sated. Starters are pricing between £6.50-7.50 with hearty main dishes around the £17-20 mark including the aforementioned plentiful bread, salad and rice. A bottle of pretty decent Turkish house wine is £22, which is probably cheaper than most pubs in Brighton and Hove today.
On my next visit, I’ll definitely be putting my foot down and ordering the excellent lamb shish just for me. For Portslade locals, this is without doubt one of the best places to eat. And if you’re not local but enjoy this type of cuisine then it’s definitely a destination restaurant that should be high on your to-do list.
Mediterra Kitchen, 85 Boundary Road, Hove BN3 5TD
01273 918 672 • www.medi-terra.co.uk