Veyso’s (Turkish) – Hertford
Having won the prestigious British Kebab Awards 2017 for Best Fine Dining, we were curious to know how good Veyso’s kebabs really were.
If first impressions were anything to go by, then looking past the prominent alcoholic wall display upon entering, we couldn’t help but be impressed by this Meze BBQ eatery’s interior decor. It was apparent that no expenses had been spared.
The double-arched hallway leading down towards the kitchen, for instance, was captivatingly illuminated by Moroccan style hanging lanterns and wall lights.
With comfortable grey-green cushioned seating set against equally dark, heavy wooden tables and floor boards, the soft, warm coastal lighting running around the room’s perimeter completed a soothingly relaxed ambience.
And we say almost because things only got more impressive as we stepped into their fully decked garden.
While there was plenty of seating outside, 40 to be precise, it was the impressive 3-tiered water fountain guarded by the statue of a Labrador that took centre stage.
Coupled with a large vertical water wall extending across the back, along with strategically placed floor lamps and an LED blossom tree, this really was the ultimate chillout garden.
To kick off the evening, we were presented with the following complimentary starter: a small portion of a mozzarella and tomato salad accompanied by pitted green and black olives, all lightly drizzled in olive oil, along with slices of toasted naan bread with grilled cheese on top.
The salad had a good texture to it with the taste of the tomato going well with the diced soft cheese.
The bread was nice and crispy, and the cheese topping, seemingly brushed with a glaze, delivering a hint of heat.
This fizzy Mojito was a curious one in that, minus a good stir, it became more citrusy as one progressed through it. It simply didn’t have the kick we would have hoped for from a good mojito.
Strawberry Daiquiri came across as slightly syrupy, perhaps owing to the syrup essentially resting at the bottom. Although this was eventually remedied with a stir, and while the strawberry came through well enough, this didn’t excite us.
The Pina Colada, though missing its distinct coconut taste, was, nonetheless, creamy, with a hint of pineapple to it.
Overall, some underwhelming beverages.
Simply put, we were floored by both its texture and, most importantly, its mind-blowing taste, achieved, no less, by its lightly spiced marination and the precision with which this was barbecued.
It really was the perfectly cooked bird akin to the boneless chicken we had at the Brazilian joint in East London’s Bethnal Green, Carne Cabana. This was soft and tender, with that familiar springiness so distinct of chicken cooked on an intense heat source, and with just the right amount of char too.
And though we could go on about this further, we’ll simply suffice with a single noun to end our admiration of this exquisite Chicken Shish: perfection!
Was this Adana Kofte going to better its alleged inferior fowl? Well, not quite.
Although we all considered the meat, again, to be of superb quality, and while the inside revealed a most mouthwateringly succulent pink interior, its lightly spiced marination, though extremely good in its own right, didn’t quite elevate this to the lofty standards of its superior cousin.
The lamb shish on the other hand, certainly did give its humble cousin a run for its money.
This tender meaty shish was positively bursting with all the natural meaty juiciness of a perfectly cooked kebab. With an exquisitely charred exterior, this couldn’t have been any better.
So good was it, in fact, that one Lion declared it the “best I’ve ever had”!
And all three dishes came with precisely the same salad comprising of mild onions washed and dampened in water, slithers of crunchy carrots, deep red cabbage, diced tomatos and cucumber, and red onions, all brought together in a light, lemony herb dressing.
Additionally, the trio of meats were also served atop slices of thin bread – apparently a traditional solution to the inevitable problem of meat sweating over time, and thus maintaining that beautiful barbecue char and texture.
This delicately seasoned and marinated piece of moist salmon, with its crispy skin and seared griddle marks, was served with the restaurant’s default salad.
Along with sautéed potatoes that still had a bite to them, this was an enjoyable plate of food.
And despite the gravy being runny and equally insipid, had with the sautéed potatoes and the large, soft and spongy woody-tasting mushroom, resulted in a decent enough meal.
We were anticipating a far better lamb casserole than this, particularly given the promise of it being “slow oven cooked”.
Instead, the lamb was slightly on the chewy side while the tomato base, with green peppers and red tomatoes, lightly spiced.
Unimpressive, especially given the size of the portion in comparison to its price.
There’s crunchy, and then there’s crunchy; and these falafels, laid out on a cushion of fairly dry and grainy humus, was the latter – hard and overly crunchy.
Yes, the herby taste was pleasant, but that’s about it.
These grilled slices of Cypriot halloumi cheese, resting atop a soft tomatoe base, were a little on the rubbery side.
However, we appreciated the interplay between the sweet and salty here.
These Tiger Prawns, marinated in a light sweet sauce, were a tad on the tough side.
And while the sweet chilli sauce was standard, the salad leaf drizzled in a tangy pomegranate sauce turned out to be a good counter.
Admittedly not the most attractive dish you’ll ever see; but, nonetheless, an interesting one in that it certainly split the crowd.
Despite being partial to lamb liver, one Lion positively detested this dish’s familiar and obvious smell of liver, finding it all just a little too overpowering. His partner, however, appreciated both the liver droplets soft, semi-crisp exterior, as well as the balance between its oily cum salty-spicy marination, and the sweet tanginess of red onions dressed in pomegranate sauce. The remaining Lion considered this to be average.
A varied and, might we say, exciting number of cold starters which didn’t all work, but kept things interesting nonetheless.
Starting with the Stuffed Vine Leaves, then these were up there with the best of ’em – really well balanced, with its lemony flavoured filling tempering the familiar touch of bitterness of the earthy vine leaves. The sweet pomegranate sauce on which these rested provided that touch of sweetness.
The Kisir, however, was arguably the best of the lot, with the lovely, fragrant crunch of the cucumber working well with the sweetness of the pomegranate sauce.
The yoghurt Cacik, with its sweet undertone courtesy of the cucumber, was simple and straighforward.
As for the lightly spiced Saksuka, then the soft aubergine texture along with the gentle, sweet bite of the green and red peppers, made this a tasty little starter.
The yoghurt based Spinach Tarator was as simple as the Cacik except that this, sans the cucumber, had a sour note. Nevertheless, it was nice and smooth.
Sadly, the Humus had the same grainy texture as the aforetasted.
We weren’t very impressed with the last two, however. The smooth Tarama Salad merely delivered a fishy taste, while the Baba Ganoush, with its stringy texture and yoghurt-like taste, was underwhelming.
- YES/ NO
Well, we can say, with complete confidence, that their Meze BBQ kebabs, particularly the Chicken Shish and Adana Kofte, were exquisite. So good, in fact, that these were some of the best we've had, and certainly worth the long trip out to Hertford.
The rest of the dishes ranged from good to adequate with a few bordering on the mediocre. But, it's all about those award-winning kebabs and, without overlooking their beautifully decorated interior, Veyso's extraordinary garden.
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