Food Review – Meze Lounge

Michael McGeary reviews the popular Middlesbrough Turkish restaurant Meze Lounge…

I’m so glad I married a carnivore. When my wife told me she wanted to go to the Meze Lounge for her birthday, I jumped at the chance.

While neither of us could be accused of being salad dodgers, there are times when only perfectly cooked red meat will truly hit the spot. It must be the caveman in me.

But being a hot summer’s evening, we decided to start the proceedings with a Turkish delight gin and tonic cocktail, decorated with raspberries and the country’s famous national confectionery.

While my wife loved it, as evident from the dusting of icing sugar on the end of her nose from the Turkish delight cube, it had slightly too much sweetness and too little gin for my tastes!

With our eyes already firmly fixed on a meat-loaded main course as charcoal cooking smells wafted in from the kitchen, we decided to opt for vegetarian starters.

We shared borek, delicate filo pastry parcels of feta cheese and parsley (£3.95), healthy yesil faisulye (green beans and onions cooked in olive oil with herbs (£3.95) and delicious crispy haloumi fries served with garlic dip and salad leaves (£4.50).

And then it was on to the meat. We decided to order the Meze mixed kebab platter for two (£30.95).

The menu promised that we wouldn’t be disappointed – and we weren’t.

The platter was almost as big as the table and consisted of chicken wings and breast, lamb, steak, ribs and Turkish sausage, all expertly grilled over red-hot coals – think the best barbeque you’ve ever been to.

It was accompanied by pockets of Turkish bread, mixed, dressed leaves and a variety of dips, and we washed it all down with a perfectly pleasant glass or two of full-bodied 2016 Ephesus cabernet sauvignon öküzgözü.

Established as one of Middlesbrough’s most popular eateries since arriving on the scene four-and-a-half-years ago, Meze was bustling with couples and families enjoying the smart café environment and informal setting.

Hosts Bulent and Deanna offer a friendly welcome and its little wonder that the Meze Lounge has topped the restaurant table in the town’s Trip Advisor rankings.

We’d like to tell you about the desserts on offer, but had to admit defeat and were so full we couldn’t even find room for coffee.

Instead we strolled happily home along Linthorpe Road in the evening heat, feeling like contented holidaymakers who had enjoyed a genuine taste of Turkish culture.