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With three to choose from, where do we start?

By Davey Pearson

With the sudden appearance of not 1, not 2 but 3 new Turkish restaurants, my wife and I decided to park the January diet/new me new you malarkey and book ourselves a night of kebabs.

We settled on Izmir of East Street (the old Strada unit) purely because of its size and thinking as it’s Saturday it would be easier to get a table… Yeah right, fully booked from 7pm onwards, so we opted for an earlier 6pm reservation.
On arrival, we were met by a lovely young chap with smouldering eyes, a suede black smoking jacket and polka dot cravat, who showed us to our table on the first floor.
Slightly gutted we couldn’t sit downstairs with it’s modern yet traditional decor and lively open kitchen, but we were told they were preparing for 90 diners and didn’t have the space for little old us… should’ve booked earlier was murmured by one of us under our breath… it wasn’t me.
Anyhoo upstairs was nice, contemporary with vibrant blue decor, port hole style mirrors and was partitioned into 3 areas by vertical floor to ceiling metal bars. I actually thought the upstairs would be bigger, but it only covers about half the footprint of downstairs… not a very interesting point, but I thought I’d mention it.
We were served promptly with our menus; drinks first and obviously, being in a Turkish restaurant, I went straight for the Pardal Czech lager. Well, it was 3.8% and it is January after all (Turkish Efes Pilsner is available). The wife, a lemonade as per the norm.
The menu is quite extensive and has a large collection of hot and cold starters. The mains are as you would expect, a selection of grilled marinated lamb or chicken dishes from shish, kofte and chops (no doner here I’m afraid). Quick chat with owner Shaz who mentioned all the meat is butchered and marinaded on site. Whilst they have 14 veggie starters, they also have 2 veggie mains which are a mixture of roasted peppers, mushrooms, tomato and aubergine. All mains are served with rice or chips, salad and bread. They have a 8 house specials and 3 fish dishes as well as kids meals and salads.
We opted for the combo, lamb and chicken shish with Adana kofte served with salad bread, rice and chips for good measure.
We waited less than 5 minutes for our meal to land on our table, which was good as I was absolutely starving since smelling the char grilled lamb as we swooped past the open kitchen on arrival.
First impression on presentation was good, the meat looked juicy and a vibrant red from the marinade, I thought it looked like a small portion to start with, but as I worked my way through, I realised my eyes were greedier than my stomach.
The lamb shish was very tender and succulent as was the chicken – Personally, I felt the adana kofte was playing second fiddle to the shish, but was delicious all the same. The salad was fresh and well seasoned, and the chilli and mint yogurt sauce accompaniments were very tasty too.
With the mains demolished, we were presented with the dessert menu which had about 5 or 6 options. We went for the traditional baklava.
Served as 3 cushions of sweet pastry around a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream. Not a massive fan of the sweets myself, but the missus loved it!
All in all, we had a wonderful early evening meal. The atmosphere was good, the staff welcoming and attentive, the food top notch – and we came out full.
Total bill with drinks £42.60, not bad in my book, so can happily recommend a visit to Izmir Turkish Restaurant in East Street Horsham.
Keep your eye open for our next meal review coming soon. D&M P

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