Mezze Palace, Small Street: Review

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When it comes to Lebanese food, I still really miss Sands. I’ve yet to try new Lebanese juice bar and restaurant Lona on Gloucester Road, but with my sister visiting and needing a bite to eat before the Ben Folds gig at the Colston Hall, we needed something more central.

Mezze Palace seemed like a good bet, with some great deals on offer and positive comments from Bristol tweeters. I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed, as in the venue’s previous incarnation as Mazati, we weren’t that impressed

While I’d set foot in the building before, my sister hadn’t – and she was amazed at the way it looks. From a tiny little entrance on Small Street, descending the stairs leads you into an unexpectedly large underground dining room, with a beautiful curved exposed brickwork ceiling – it’s certainly visually impressive!

 

Mezze Palace - Interior

 

It seems that the menu on the Mezze Palace website is a little out of date, as the early evening deal that we were planning on ordering was mentioned nowhere. The menu certainly offers something for everyone, though, with various mezze starters, mains divided into chicken, lamb, fish and vegetarian options as well as sandwiches, and a section at the front with a wide variety of set menus from which to choose.

As we’re both useless at making decisions, we stuck with our original set menu plans and went for the £11.99 set menu, consisting of a platter of eight different mezze each and the ability to choose any main course from the menu, bar the fish and lamb shank options.

To be honest, we could probably have easily just had the starter with no need for a main course – portion sizes here are generous. Each of us was presented with a round, white, compartmentalised dish that contained our eight mezze: a well-textured and smokey baba ghanouj, decorated with pomegranate jewels; a chickpea-studded, perfectly smooth hommous that was tasty but with a little too much tahini for my taste; a filo pastry cigar filled with an almost samosa-like meaty filling; a dense and well-spiced falafel; a stuffed vine leaf, served warm, which was a little surprising; two intensely flavoured spicy lamb sausages; a marinated and grilled chicken wing which was perfectly tender; and a seriously tasty salad, the dressing spiced up with chilli and sumac. All of this was served with a warm flatbread each, which was perfect for mopping up the dips. Delicious.

 

Mezze Palace - Mixed Mezze

 

For my main, I opted for the spicy minced lamb (normally £9.99 when not dining from the set menu): four perfectly tender skewers of minced lamb combined with parsley and garlic, with a beautifully smoky flavour from the charcoal grill. The sauce was fantastic too: a chunky tomato, garlic and red and green pepper concoction, with a lovely kick (although not overpowering) from the addition of green chilli.

 

Mezze Palace - Spicy Minced Lamb

 

For Hannah, the mixed grill (also £9.99 when not dining from the set menu): two of the same lamb skewers that I had been served, with perfectly charcoal-grilled chicken cubes replacing my two skewers. Seriously good stuff – and served with a bowl each of white rice with vermicelli, which we were sure had been cooked pilaf-style in butter, giving it a lovely silky texture.

 

Mezze Palace - Mixed Grill

 

Sadly, neither of us could finish our main courses after the starter, leading to our host seeming to worry in case we didn’t enjoy the food. It took a little while to convince him that it really was delicious, we’d just overindulged on the mezze front…

As a nice little touch at the end of our main courses, we were given a plate of three different types of baklava to enjoy on the house. Despite being full, this was where my sister’s “separate dessert stomach” came into play, devouring the baklava which was just as sticky and sweet as it should be.

 

Mezze Palace - Baklava

 

The total bill for 2 set menus, a lemonade and a Pepsi came to just £26.98: outstanding value given both the quality and quantity of the food. Mezze Palace offers not just a beautiful setting, but fantastic flavoursome food and excellent service to boot. Recommended – we’ll definitely be going back.

 

 

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