26 November 2020

Dining Under Lockdown: House of Tides

Food ✪✪✪✪✪
Value for money ✪✪✪✪
Pandemic friendly? (Ease of procurement, social distancing etc) ✪✪✪✪✪

House of Tides
28-30 The Close
Newcastle upon Tyne
0191 230 3720

Gluten free options? Email regarding dietary requirements.

I like to think I’m handy enough in the kitchen, but I didn’t imagine back in the first flush of 2020 that I’d be knocking out Michelin star quality food by this point in the year. Not, mind you, that I can take any particular credit for how nice dinner was the other night, other than a spot of reheating of this and scattering of that. I imagine that Kenny Atkinson didn’t start 2020 thinking he’d be serving his food into little plastic containers for masked punters to take home and bung in the oven either, but here we all are. Not an original thought, but a true one nonetheless: strange times.

Lockdown number one saw a few restaurants quickly turn themselves into takeaways, or offer DIY meal kits of some sort. This rather rubbish sequel has seen a good deal more getting involved, not just in the North East, but up and down the land. The determination to keep things moving one way or another, to keep staff employed, to find a way to keep stock coming in and get it out despite not knowing whether the doors will be allowed to open from one week to the next as we all look forward to traversing the snakes-and-ladders tier system again; it’s all very impressive. Among those getting in on the act is House of Tides.

Getting hold of our bag o’goodies was hassle free. You log onto their website on a Friday and buy the thing (£90 for two people), then collect it from the restaurant the following weekend. For twelve further quid they’ll deliver it. NB: you might want to set up a twitter notification for when the menu gets announced, as this has been a popular offering.

Unpacking was a lot of fun. There are piping bags and metal cartons, and plastic punnets, and smaller plastic punnets. What does this go with? Aha, that’s the purée for the terrine! Etc and so forth. The instructions cover two pages of A4, although not much more needs actually to be done than put things in the oven or the microwave for the right amount of time. Even at this rather simplified, fairly idiot proof level, and with all the cooking basically already done, it’s a tiny insight into the complexity of producing food at the top end of things.

We got going with a gougère into which I piped an assertively spiced baba ganoush. Nice, if not as featherlight as they may have been after their first baking , and allowing for the fact that the concept of a non-cheesy gougère is one I struggle with. 

A small loaf of malted bread was excellent, crisp outside and pillowy within after a few minutes in the oven.

A pot of cured trout tartare was mercifully thin on instructions. “Using a small teaspoon, enjoy straight from the pot”. Mrs Diner, ever the rebel, debated using a massive soup spoon to scoop the thing up in a one-er. In any case it was a pretty little pot of fun. The rosy fish was seasoned by the inky pop of caviar, crunch being provided by teensy nubbins of cucumber and radish and the powerful celery-like flavour of lovage adding some savoury depth.

A terrine of partridge and ham hock was merely nice, perhaps a little thin on the latter, which made it very mild, merging on meek. Its pear chutney was good but a parsnip purée was a bit nondescript, although the bitterness of some curly endive perked things up. 

By this point we were starting to really enjoy a bottle of earthy and hedge-packed non-AOC Beaujolais, procured for the occasion, from KORK in Whitley Bay. If you’ve any interest in natural or low intervention style wines, definitely check these guys out.

That wine absolutely sang with the main course, which was a glorious triumph of pig. A cuboid each of rich, almost gamey, belly came with charred onions, a few lumps of delicious spud, buttered cavolo nero and a splash of the type of rich, reduced sauce that just about justifies the price of high-end food all on its own. Perfectly suited to this “re-heat chez vous” format, this was as joyful a plate of food as we have had in quite some time. 

Pudding was another open-the-pot-and-devour job, and another bracing blast of flavour. Atkinson has been doing wonderful things with chocolate for at least as long as I’ve been eating in his restaurants, and I imagine a good deal longer. His pavé is a thing to behold. This chocolate pot - possibly a custard based ganache? - was rich, smooth and just frigging great. It was thoughtfully accessorised with bitter coffee jelly, cistrussy Kalamansi and crisp tuiles and nuts. I’ve eaten, throughout childhood and into adult life, an awful lot of chocolate pud out of plastic pots. I like a Rolo pudding as much as the next person. I liked this way, way more. I can scarcely give greater praise. 

A couple of crisp-shelled white chocolate truffles, rolled in toasty roasted coconut rounded out a hugely enjoyable evening of eating.

As my finger hovers over the publish button, Matt Hancock has stood up at the dispatch box and the gov.uk website has crashed as the whole country tries to find out what tier they're in. The entire North East, for now at least, is in tier 3, so no eating out for a while yet. House of Tides @Home boxes are sold out for the coming weekend of the 28th of November, but given today's shenanigans, there may be more of which this review speaks

If not, well, we’re a way off getting everyone vaccinated and a lot of people may not feel - for many understandable reasons - like they want to go out to dinner for a while anyhow. This way of eating nice food may be around for longer than we think. House of Tides did 100 covers worth of these boxes on day we picked ours up. And if our restaurants do get to reopen soon, then I’d invite you just to take this review as a massive thumbs up for one of our region’s absolute best.

At the risk of making a very flippant point, it would be great if some of those charting our collective course through this tumult had just a portion of the creativity, work ethic and good sense to be found in the very sector that has taken perhaps the greatest gubbing at the hands of the ‘rona. Anything that can be done to keep as much of team hospitality alive through all of this is, I reckon, time and money very well spent. Help out if you can, to eat out sometime soon.

7 November 2020

Dining under Lockdown: Kennedy and Rhind

Food ✪✪✪✪
Value For Money ✪✪✪✪
Pandemic friendly? (Ease of procurement, social distancing etc) ✪✪✪✪ 

Kennedy and Rhind
The Beacon
Westgate Road
Newcastle upon Tyne


07794 364 298

I don’t know about you but I reckon, what with one thing and another, that the warm, flaky embrace of pastry and pies is pretty much what we all need right now. Another lockdown beckons, but this time with the added bonus of dark nights, a fractious political scene and just the general knackeringness of it all. If that doesn’t make you want to reach for the nearest steaming carb-bomb then yours is a stronger soul than mine.

I’m a bit surprised that Greggs’ share price hasn’t sky-rocketed during 2020, actually. I’d have thought that the existential grimness this annus miserabilis has wreaked would have had us all upping our intake of tepid beige slices, but then what little I know about food dwarfs what I know about economics. Anyway, I'm not here to slag off Greggs, not by a long shot. What I would like to do is sing the praises of the high-end alternative who are churning out some god-tier baked things which certainly lifted my mood over the weekend that Boris - eventually - stood up at the lectern and shut everything down all over again.

2 November 2020

Journey Cafe Bar and Kitchen

Food ✪✪✪✪
Ambience ✪✪✪✪
Service ✪✪✪✪

Higham House
Newcastle upon Tyne

07950 471 151

Accessibility? Yes
Gluten free options? Yes

I need scarcely tell you what odd times these are in which to eat out. I can't imagine what it must be like to actually run a restaurant. Even as I tap this out at the end of October I'm waiting to hear from our glorious leader whether people will be able to eat in restaurants in the coming week. It's a sign of how fast things are moving that on the evening of the meal I describe here there was a sense of gloom closing in, as numbers were going in the wrong direction and even our genial host Adam admitted that he hadn't felt comfortable about promoting his own restaurant on Instagram that night. Then things went right for a bit, but not right enough. I hope as I type that these words aren't about to become irrelevant.

It was via Instagram that we found this particular Journey. Mrs Diner follows all the cool arty types on there you see, and it seems that this is where all those cool arty types like to hang out. I have to confess it had sneaked in under my own radar, despite the central location just next to The Laing Gallery. It used to share the space with a bike shop, but is now very much its own thing, and recently started an evening service as well as the daytime shift.

And a very lovely space it is too, all high ceilings, dark green walls and chipboard bench seating. It feels like it has been done with an eye on the budget by someone with excellent taste. You may be interested to know that it's very spacious, and very much doing all the Covid-secure stuff. Rather more excitingly, you may also be interested to know that they make a very fine Negroni which helped me segue nicely into weekend mode, aided by the toe-tapping sounds of Aim's Cold Water Music. Mrs Diner, custodian of the car keys for the night, ordered an excellent zippy home made lemonade.

The menu draws its inspiration largely, though non-dogmatically, from Persia. It transpires that the chef is Iranian, but are clearly not above throwing some chipotles in a salsa, or offering up a Goan curry. All to the good. And, while not every dish may have hailed from the exact same corner of the globe, they did have something rather more important in common: deliciousness.

First to arrive were a plate of hassleback [I think the chef meant 'hasselback', unless they're complaining about them being a faff to prepare] beetroot, possessing the full spectrum of roasted root flavours from crisp to fudgy to al dente earthiness. They came with a hillock of whipped, lemon-zested feta for swooshing. I've eaten my fair share of hasselback spuds, but never beetroot before, I'm now eyeing up the contents of my veg cupboard, looking for other things to hasselback (that's thinly slicing them almost all the way through, which is less of a hassle than it looks). So yeah, these were really good.

As was the wonderfully named kookoo sabzi, a gloriously light frittata of verdant herbaciousness that seemed to be held together by magic, rather than egg. It tasted of health, and came with a decent flatbread and some lightly pickled gherkins. One of these would make an excellent lunch.

Rather more calorific but no less excellent was a plate of halloumi fries, crunchy in their polenta jackets, lifted by the inclusion of nigella seeds, with a pokey, smoky chipotle for dunking. Keeshmish polo - turmeric rice with pine nuts and long-caremelised onions - arrived alongside and was perfectly nice, the grains bidding each other farewell with the minimum of fuss.

So much for the "small plates"; we moved on to stuff from the "bowls", and "flatbreads" section of the menu, and also some that you would not recognise as Persian. A Goan curry of aubergines and green beans was absolutely banging, the spicing deep and satisfying. I'm not sure how canonical it is to throw a load of peanut - possibly peanut butter? - in a Goan curry, but no matter; the resultant dish was dark, rich and compelling

Mrs Diner's avocado and chipotle salsa flatbread was fine, if a little unremarkable in comparison to the curry opposite, looking and tasting like something one might knock up on a quick lunch break.

The two puddings available were also merely fine. With both the toasted banana bread and a slice of coconut flapjack we were comfortably in standard café territory, rather than the globe-trotting Negroni fuelled adventure of the previous hour or so.

No matter: don't let this slightly underwhelming coda put you off trying what is a little beauty of a place, hiding almost in plain sight, bang in the middle of town. The space is lovely, the welcome is warm and much of the food is absolutely delicious. We paid seventy pounds, including service, for a feast. Highly recommended.

Postscript: OK, scrub that, at least partly. Boris has just been on the telly, and none of us are going to be eating out for at least the next month or so. But I'm still uploading these words to you as a gesture of completely impotent but optimistic defiance, in solidarity with the folk working in restaurants who have done so amazingly through all this mad time. You're all brilliant, and when it's allowed again, and if people feel safe to do so, Journey is just one of a host of fantastic places we've all got to visit. See you in December. Maybe.

22 October 2020

No 19 Close House

Food ✪✪✪
Ambience ✪✪✪
Service ✪✪✪✪

No 19 Close House
Heddon on the Wall
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE15 0HT

01661 852 255


Accessibility? Yes
Gluten free options? Yes 

There have been some very tangible and objectively sensible reasons why some restaurants have felt relatively safe places to be over the last few months. Staff in face coverings, comfortably spaced-out tables, sanitiser at the entrance; that sort of thing. There are also strange and impalpable reasons why some of us might feel happier in one sort of place than another; reasons that probably don’t stand up to quite the same level of rational enquiry. 

I’ve always quite liked the look of golf courses. I’ve played a bit at various times, but there’s something else going on other than the fact that a golf course is the necessary precondition for a game of golf. There’s something about that lush green neatness, the reduction of nature - with all it’s wild and, frankly, dangerous unpredictability - to a comprehensible tapestry of grass, longer grass, sand and water.

Now, I’m no scientist, but Covid does at times feels like biology tapping us on the shoulder and admonishing us for thinking we had the upper hand, for assuming that we could pull it this way and that without creating some dangerous stretch marks. I think that’s what may be scariest about it. And that, I reckon, is why I found eating at Close House, with a lovely view out on to the manicured, orderly fairways, punctuated only by neat bunkers and pleasant water features to be such an oddly comforting experience. Does that make any sense? No? Ah well, not much does currently.

No 19, the restaurant at Close House is another on the list of places I’ve been meaning to get to for ages and am finally catching up with, in lieu of all the hot new restaurant openings that we’re not currently seeing. Those of you with a long memory may remember I did visit Close House once before, when there was an over-blown silver-gilt restaurant in what used to be the hotel. "Close, but not quite there yet," I concluded. It never did get there, because the whole place shut down. 
No 19 is a completely different kettle of fish or, more precisely, beer battered haddock. Under the normal run of things the menu features the favourite dishes of some of Close House’s “attached tour professional” Lee Westwood’s golfer chums. Want to bosh that golf ball like Sergio Garcia? Here, have an Iberico ham sandwich! An entertaining way of ordering lunch, however the ‘rona had resulted in a more limited menu when we visited. 

We still found things we wanted to eat, even if they lacked the endorsement of a polo-shirted superstar.

The No 19 scotch egg, for example, was a winner. Crisp crumb gave way to a thumpingly savoury forcemeat featuring a good whack of black pudding, and then a squidgy-yolked egg. Good scotch eggs may not be the novelty they once were, but I doubt I’ll ever tire of them. Saying that, No 19 could do with a sharper knife with which to make the “big reveal” cut. Ours arrived at the table looking like it had been exposed to the elements by a karate chop.

Tempura prawns were nicely fried, the batter being closer to tempura than to chip shop, which is always good, and the innards being sweet and fleshy. Thumbs up for accompanying these with some fried kale, another item I doubt I shall grow weary of. Thumbs down for the very odd “teriyaki” dip, which tasted like somebody had added a good shake of soy to a bought-n BBQ sauce.

There are few dishes so enjoyable when done right, yet so regularly trashed as the good ol’ Caesar salad. The No 19 version was nearly excellent, featuring a punchy, garlicky dressing, crunchy croutons and fresh gratings of proper parmesan. It all came a bit unstuck however via the inclusion of pickled boquerones rather than salted anchovies which was - for me at least - the culinary equivalent of driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Still, not bad, and the wodge of chargrilled chicken sitting on top of it all which made this a main course rather than a starter had picked up some nice smoky char from the grill.

Mrs Diner, feeling a bit flash, went for the fillet steak and was rewarded with a very tasty hunk of cow, cooked to medium rare and with a perfectly nice béarnaise. Why it is that in 2020 we still think a honking big mushroom and a whole, not-cooked-through-properly tomato are sensible accoutrements for the most expensive item on the menu is beyond me, but we knew what was coming when we ordered, so I guess it’s on us. The chips were a bit on the floury side, but nice enough when swooshed through the tangy béarnaise.

I took a wander out on the terrace while we waited for puddings to arrive, the better to admire all that neatness, the views towards the south side of the Tyne Valley and to catch some fresh air. Staff, smart in their waistcoats and cream fitted trousers ferried burgers to mostly men, and everything felt comfortable and comfortably well off. Apart from the face coverings it was easy to forget anything was amiss.
One of the efficiently friendly wait staff we spoke to told us that, yes, they had been unusually busy during August as everyone ate out to help out, but that there is always a solid cohort of diners who, like us, come here to eat without tonking little white balls all over the place. I can see why, especially at the moment. It’s a spacious venue, with nice views, outdoor space and a reassuring menu of familiar dishes which they can clearly - a few mis-steps notwithstanding - cook pretty well. A few tweaks here and there and this could be a really appealing spot to hunker down and pretend the world isn’t falling apart.

Puddings were - there’s a theme here - nearly really good. Mrs Diner’s crème brûlée was fine in the custard department, but sadly lacked the crisp burnt sugar which is pretty much the whole point of the dish. 

My carpaccio of pineapple with a mango sorbet was rather a lot of sugary exotica and could have done with some spice, or even something a bit savoury to contrast with the main flavours. Close, but not quite there. Our meal, with one glass of wine, came to £84.

9 October 2020

The Queens Head

Food ✪✪✪
Ambience ✪✪✪
Service ✪✪✪✪

Queens Head Hotel
6 Sandgate
TD15 1EP

01289 307 852

Accessibility? No
Gluten free options? Yes

We had been sat at our table for a few minutes when we were politely asked by the waiter to stand up, so he could squeeze round the back of us and into the cold store behind. Polite, but also somewhat urgent, as he bore a whole deer carcass, and the thing looked heavy. It’s not every lunch that starts with you having to dodge out the way of one of the main courses. On the one hand, it was an unsubtle reminder of the realities of carnivorous eating. On the other, a very encouraging sign that this is a kitchen keen to work with good quality raw materials. 

Indeed, there were a number of encouraging things about our lunch, things which I should certainly like to encourage. I would like to be slightly more enthusiastic than I’m about to be, and I would be too if it weren’t for a few hiccups on the execution side of things. We’ll get to that in a minute.

First, it’s worth noting that the nice folk at the Queen’s Head were entirely hospitable when we asked, in the middle of a biblical monsoon, whether we might take shelter in their dining room a good half hour before the lunch service began. So much for our pre-meal perambulation round the streets of Berwick. As indeed they were throughout, on a weekday lunch rendered unusually busy by being at the fag end of Dishy Rishi’s special bargain month. The meal was punctuated by more attempted walk-ins - all knocked back as the place was fully booked - than any meal I recently recall.

Happily we had booked, so got to choose from an intriguing menu that sought inspiration from far and wide. Along with some local-sounding game and seafood dishes were a parsnip and coconut soup, a Paella and a spicy braise of aubergine tofu. I’m almost a little ashamed to say that in the face of such exotica we played it relatively safe.

Mrs Diner’s scallop starter was simplicity itself, and none the worse for that. Three plump specimens had received enough heat to caramelise slightly, coming perched on wilted ribbons of courgette and topped by a lemon and basil-flecked butter. Very pleasant, although removing the roes and using them elsewhere would have been advisable, as they were chewy little bullets.

My own starter was one of a couple of dishes where good ideas were lost somewhere in the business of getting them to the table. The flavour of the “sorbet style” beetroot mousse was full and punchy, and the texture once it had melted was smooth. The problem was that the slice that arrived on the plate was full of whopping ice crystals which made eating it rather akin to chewing on a beetroot flavoured snowball. Some pickled carrots and beets of varied hues were fine, but could not redeem the main event.

There being Berwick Lobster on the menu, it felt churlish not to take the opportunity to have it, especially when part-funded by the good ol’ taxpayer. A slight shame then that the thing was overcooked, some of the claw meat having fused to the inside of the carapace and all the fun nooks and crannies inside the legs having dried out. The flavour of the tail meat was good, but the other pleasures of the beast were very much diminished.

No such issues with my venison burger, which was a well-seasoned puck of mildly gamey joy, on a wodge of soda bread that sucked up the meaty juices, and under a blanket of powerfully salty melted blue cheese. With good chips (admittedly in a silly mini-fryer basket, but whatevs) and red cabbage coleslaw on the side, this was a stonking, warming plate of food. The deer being brought into this kitchen didn't die in vain.

Desserts and cheese were less excellent. The Yorkshire parkin and berry trifle featured rather dry lumps of gingerbread in a dull custard that lacked any real flavour, vanilla or otherwise. While adding a dash of glamour to affairs, the fact that it arrived in a martini glass only underscored the fact that that was a boozeless trifle, or at least I couldn’t detect any. For shame.

We ordered cheese because the excellent Doddingtons was listed as their supplier. I’m as certain as I can be that none of the four we were served were from that producer. They may have run out, but I would have thought it polite to advise of this on ordering. In any case none of the two blues nor two cheddars we were provided with were much cop.

But despite an underwhelming cadenza, and a few hiccups here and there, I’d still say that the Queen’s Head, the most northerly meal I have ever eaten for these pages, is worth your visit. With starters hovering around eight quid (including those scallops, a relative bargain) and mains around fourteen, it’s fair value. The menu is rather idiosyncratic, and I’m sure that if you order well you could navigate it successfully, coming out with three fine courses. Service was necessarily brisk given the number of punters, but welcoming and friendly. The dark woods and brick of the dining room are not cutting edge interior design by any margin, but that’s fine by me. The Covid-related hazard tape that adorned the floor added a touch of colour in any case.

And, finally, anywhere that is getting whole caracasses of animals delivered just as the lunch service begins is alright by me. Someone’s going to have to break that thing down, which takes a bit of skill and effort. Skill and effort are things worth seeking out.

20 September 2020


Food ✪✪✪
Ambience ✪✪✪
Service ✪✪✪

Front Street
Four Lane Ends

0191 266 2777

Accessibility? Yes
Gluten free options? Yes 

What with one thing and another, there haven't been many new restaurant openings across the North East of late. Fair enough, really. This has meant that since things started to open up again back in July, I’ve taken the opportunity to visit a few that have been skulking around my to-do list for longer than I’d like to admit. It has been fun and interesting and instructive to check out places that have been doing their thing for years, where the paint is entirely dry and opening week kerfuffles are but a distant memory.

I get to hear about restaurants in all sorts of ways. A press release here, a tip from a friend there. I get emails from nice readers very much like yourself, and I even mooch about on Instagram once in a while. The Turkish restaurant Lezzet announced itself to me in a rather more old fashioned and compelling way than any of the above.

My real life (yes, I am a real person) causes me to drive quite regularly along Benton Park Road, past Four Lane Ends Interchange. It is an entirely unremarkable bit of suburbia. However: head past Kwik Fit in the direction of the coast, and breath in. Should the wind be blowing in the correct direction you will be assailed by one of the most wonderful fragrances known to our species, as the impressive extraction kit of Lezzet restaurant belches the aroma of animal flesh searing over hot coal out into the Longbenton air. People around here must be permanently starving.

So finally, instead of muttering ”Christ, that smells good, we need to try that place” to Mrs Diner yet again, we actually pulled in, parked up and got ourselves mentally ready to attack mezze and grilled meat. The place is housed in a sturdy length of pale stone. The main dining room is large and spacious. More so than normal, since they’ve removed around a third of the covers. Tables were clothed, seats were comfy, the welcome was warm and Hüsnü Şenlendirici was showing his clarinet who’s boss on the stereo. Nice. 

The menu is large, spanning the canonical list of hot and cold starters, grilled meats and stews that you will be on first name terms with from any previous Turkish meals enjoyed in these Isles.

Patlican ezme was your smokey aubergine dip, tamed by yoghurt, but with a fair whack of garlic and tahini about it. This was delicious, as were the wodges of sesame-flecked breads which we used to demolish it, crisp without and steamy within. 

Sucuk, that brick-red sausage I’ve always thought of as chorizo’s cheeky younger sibling, was full of sumac, but could have been charred a little more over the grill. 

Elsewhere, hummus was fine, but a bit under seasoned and came topped with cubes of lamb which were oddly lacking in much flavour. 

A prawn casserole mezze was better, plentiful shellfish bobbing in a homely and comforting tomato-based sauce which seemed to contain an allotment’s worth of veg. 

The best thing we ate was a main course of chicken Iskender, in which chunks of breast meat had been kept miraculously moist despite clearly taking some ferocious heat from the grill. They came atop a tomato sauce that tasted clean and light and sweet and which was soaked up by some honking great croutons. An unfussy blob of strained yogurt sat at one end of this moat of rather heavenly food. We saw the last of the sauce away with the last of our bread in a moment of appreciative reverence. 

The wonderfully named Tif Tif Tandir, ordered from the separate specials menu was rather less excellent. Again lamb - usually a de
ad cert in the flavour department - was oddly lacking in, well, lambness. It had been cooked down to shreds along with “Anatolian herbs” which to my palate comprised oregano and sumac. It wasn’t terrible, but just a bit dull and samey. 

The house salad of chopped tomatoes, peppers, walnuts and pomegranate molasses was refreshing, but made me rather wish better tomatoes had been employed in its construction. 

Portions are large and so we debated getting a dessert, but were delighted we did as there was a flourish for a finish. 

A freshly cooked, unrolled pistachio pancake was brought to the table. This was slathered in clotted cream before being tightly rolled by our waitress and scattered with fresh pistachios. Phwoar and blimey. This, friends, was frigging delicious, if possibly diabetes-inducing. I commend it to you without reservation.

Service was friendly throughout, although on what was a relatively quiet night, we were abandoned to our own devices for a while, meaning I had to get up and track down a waitress to order that pud. Lezzet seems very much a family outfit, and some of those with whom we shared the room were clearly regulars. I drank a solitary glass of Öküzgözü, a red grape with which I will admit unfamiliarity, but which went perfectly well with the tomato-based sauces. Our bill came to £83. 

This was perhaps not quite the knockout flavourslam that the unbelievable aromas coming out of the kitchen had led us to expect. Perhaps we didn’t order brilliantly. However, Lezzet is still well worth your custom, doing a range of Turkish favourites in a room that feels like a very comfortable place to be in the current climate. What is more, it will continue to feel that way even as other places who have relied to some extent on their outside areas can no longer do so. 

The complimentary Lezzet-branded facemasks we got with the bill were a reminder that everything is still not right. But every good meal in a nice restaurant makes the world feel a bit cheerier, and that will do for now.