Still reeling from the shock closure of Sands, our previous favourite of ours for Lebanese mezze, we’re keen to find a potential replacement. Cedars Express on Park Row goes some way to filling the gap (try their hummus and their feta cheese pastries!), but with nowhere to sit, it’s not quite the same. A Dealcloud voucher at the previously untried Mazati, therefore, was always going to be a must-buy…
It’s pretty easy not to notice Mazati when you’re walking down Small Street in Bristol’s city centre: the frontage is tiny, dominated by The Big Chill on one side and with the equally tiny Teppan on the other. Entrance to the restaurant is via a flight of steps, leading you down to a single underground room with curved brick ceilings: it’s certainly cosy!
We were, I was glad to see, greeted by a friendly and smiling waiter – recent reviews on the Mazati website suggest that service for some has been a little surly. He happily pointed out what our voucher included from the menu (a selection of eight mezze to share plus a mixed grill each), and took our drinks order with a smile.
Our mezze arrived on a compartmentalised ceramic dish to share, and our concerns over a lack of bread turned out to be unfounded, as our waiter happily brought over a basket of sliced flatbreads when we asked.
The mezze were a bit of a mixed bag. The lamb in filo pastry was one of my highlights, and had a decent amount of spice. The parsley in our stuffed vine leaves meant that they were full of flavour, but they were served warm, which was a little odd.
Both the hommous and the baba ghannouj were tasty, but portions were very small, and a slight bitterness suggested too much tahini for our tastes. I did enjoy the fried cauliflower, though, and the lamb kibbeh (meatballs) were delicious and only let down by a slight excess of cinnamon. It was a shame that we weren’t served the cheese filo pastry that was advertised, instead being given what we believe were falafel but were a little lacking on the flavour front.
Onto the main course, and our mixed grill arrived at the table. Disappointingly, despite having it pointed out to us on the menu, it didn’t appear as advertised. The three different grills (chunks of lamb, chicken and minced lamb) had been reduced to two by the kitchen staff. The chicken was delicious, perfectly tender and with a hint of charcoal (in a good way) from the grill on which it had been cooked. We were also served two skewers of minced lamb, flavoured with plenty of parsley and onion. Mine was still a little pink in the middle, which I was more than happy with but others may have felt differently, and the garlic sauce with which the dish was served was fantastically pungent but still not quite up to the standard that we had enjoyed at Sands. Disappointing not to have sampled the lamb cubes, though, and as one of my friends pointed out, it would have been nice to have a small salad or some vegetables on the side to break up the dish a bit.
Mazati do have some fantastic regular offers – one friend paid £9.99 on the night for a meal fairly similar to ours, with six mezze and a mixed grill, and the same deal is available for just £4.99 at lunchtimes. I’m still not 100% convinced, though, and think I’ll stick to Cedars Express for my Lebanese fix…
Address: Small Street, Bristol BS1 1DE
Telephone: 0117 927 7937
Find Mazati on the Bristol Bites Directory…