Gokyuzu (Turkish) – Finchley, LondonHALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol served
If you reside in north London, enjoy both chargrilled meats and Turkish cuisine, and haven’t been to Gokyuzu yet, then a question mark lingers above you.
While we weren’t sure (and neither was management) by what margin the building’s original seating capacity of 300 had been reduced to in order to maintain their mandatory Covid protocols, a system was in place to manage the influx of diners.
Although social distancing markers might have helped remind an otherwise indifferent queue of hungry customers waiting outdoors (as Bird have done in Camden), there was just enough room at the main entrance for diners to register their name and patiently await their turn.
There were direction markers affixed on the staircase, however, with tables arranged to maintain said social distancing rule.
COMPLIMENTARY & STARTERSRECOMMENDED
After being directed to our designated table upstairs on the first floor, our order was taken without much delay, followed promptly by a huge basket full of warm, freshly-baked Turkish bread and a simple yoghurt and cucumber dip – a complimentary portion that’s offered to all guests before every meal.
If you are planning on getting a number of mezes for starters, then we’d seriously recommend saving the breads for these.
Going by the above image and starting at 12 o’clock, then the familiar taste of lady fingers in combination with soft and smoky aubergine and all those Turkish spices made the Soslu Patlican a delicious meze.
The Ispanak Tarator was easily the smoothest of the lot, with a light sourness to it. The moist Kisir bulgur was superbly textured, with a light spiciness and a delicate smokiness that made this one of the platter’s standout mezes.
The Yorurtlu Patlican Ezme was a simple one, being a rich and piquant, semi-thick yoghurt with grated cucumber therein. It was the infusion of the dill though, which had us coming back every so often to enjoy the sour edge to this smooth, creamy and herbaceous yoghurt Haydari.
Now, whether the Humus was meant to be grainy by design or not we’re not sure. But, what we all agreed on was how the distinct flavour of quality chickpeas made this paste such an enjoyable one.
Aside from its simple presentation, taste-wise, we couldn’t really find fault with any of these mezes (just be sure to enjoy them with that basket full of freshly-baked complimentary breads, which were an absolute joy to eat).
If there’s one dish that represents the word ‘Gokyuzu’, which means ‘sky’ in Turkish, then it has to be their meat platters, with an enticing array piled on high atop a combo of rice and bulgur.
We were also agreed that the chicken shish, with its soft and juicy tenderness coupled with that familiar smoky aroma, was our second fave.
The eight pieces of chicken wing were lightly marinated and beautifully done, while the lamb shish wasn’t quite as uniform in size as we’d have preferred resulting in some undoubtedly being more well done, as well as slightly more chewier, than others.
As for the adana kebab, then we’ve certainly had better. Although its gentle spiciness was perfectly acceptable, we found its texture to err more on the crispy-cum-fatty side, as opposed to being more tender and meaty in nature. We also appreciated the carving of chicken and lamb doner scattered about the plate, which was a nice addition.
Given the richness of this platter, you’ll certainly need the large salad bowl this came with – comprising of fresh leaves, carrots, cucumber, and pickled red cabbage, all covered in a light pomegranate dressing – to cleanse the palate every so often.
If we did have a question against said platter, it would be the same one raised against the Large Mixed Meze: could this have been more smartly presented?
When someone confirms, as the staff did, that their establishment serves freshly-made, inhouse Künefe, you’d be a fool to pass that by.
Granted it tasted far better than it deserved, turning out crunchy on the outside and beautifully saturated on the in without being overly sweet; but just look at that cross-section!
With barely any filling to speak of and a measly sprinkling of crushed pistachios, this was more crunch and crackle than the delicate balance of light crispiness juxtaposed with soft gooey-sponginess one would expect of an expertly made Künefe. In hindsight, we’d have skipped this for the Sütlaç below.
A decent sized rice pudding this Sütlaç. While clearly pulled out of the fridge, this was thick, smooth and creamy, with a good level of sweetness to it. And with the burned top layer offering a touch of smokiness, this was enjoyed by two of the three Lions (the third considering it ordinary, which it was, though enjoyable nonetheless).
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- DISABLED FACILITIES
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
The first was how well oiled this machine was. Despite having to cater for a fully packed out, 300+ capacity restaurant (although that would have been about half given the social distancing measures enacted), the service appeared slick, the food speedily served, and the general atmosphere of the place positive.
The second was their food. While the quality of the meat was good, it was made better by the expertise of the chargrilling. We do believe, however, that the presentation could certainly be improved to match the cooking skills on show.
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