Grilled meats and uncomplicated beer

Sometimes it's nice to get back to basics. Food made using high quality ingredients, cooked simply but with care, and washed down with tasty uncomplicated beer, it's the reason we all love BBQ's and it's exactly the reason I love Cirrik in Richmond.

Cirrik is a Turkish grill and meze restaurant, where the fare consists of various types of rustic spicy stews and a huge selection of charcoal grilled meats such as succulent lamb koftes, which are lightly spiced, still slightly pink, and specked with mint, or charred chicken shish kebabs served with a squeeze of lemon. It's food that's big on flavour and low on pretense.

You can have any type of beer you want, as long as it's a Turkish Efes. Which is just fine with me, Efes is a perfectly decent pale lager ('Pilsen' on the bottle, but to be honest lager is a better descriptor) that does it's job of washing down the meal well and actually has a fairly malty body and an edge of hop bitterness to keep things interesting enough. It won't bowl you over, but it's still better than a lot of macro lagers. Most importantly it reminds me of holidaying in Turkey, eating charcoal wraps on the beach and trying to persuade myself that a bottle of water would serve me a better than a beer. Leigh did a post a while ago about Mythos, and how it reminds him of holidays in Greece, and I'd say Efes and Cirrik have exactly the same effect on me.

There was five of us eating so we ordered a few different starters and a mixed meze to share, with the grilled fresh sardines being my favourite of the lot. Very carefully cooked, with crispy skin and really soft well cooked meat that was lightly seasoned and served with a lemon wedge. It was perfect and I could've eaten a dozen of them. The other dishes were also really good and the cold mezze, which came with some Turkish flat breads too, was great for using as a sauce platter with the other dishes. We kept it in the middle of the table and dipped into it during our mains as well.

And what a main it was. I went for the frankly huge mixed grill dish which consists of a large skewer of lamb shish, chicken shish, lamb kofte, chicken kofte, and a spiced lamb chop. The lamb was the highlight in all it's forms, with a shish that was slightly pink and lightly spiced, meltingly tender and utterly delicious. As well as that the kofte is one of the best I've ever had, not overcooked and again slightly pink in the centre, it was full of flavour and rightfully minty with lots of fresh herb running right through the meat. The lamb chop was huge, thick, and delicious, and the chicken in both its forms was smoky, charred, yet beautifully juicy and tender - a hard thing to achieve. Served with a refreshing vinegary salad and plain rice it was fantastic. Simple food like this has nowhere to hide; if any element is below par it stands out like a sore thumb, but thankfully this meal was nothing but thumbs up. Highly reccomended.

Cirrik isn't cheap, my main was £15, but it is delicious and all the meat is really good quality. If you have a Taste Card you get 50% off all food making it really reasonable, which is what we did (you can get a months trial for free here by simply giving them your name and address, no card details involved). I also had some 'good beer' elsewhere over the course of the weekend, not to mention some pretty shocking beer as well... but more on that later I think.


  1. Assuming this is in -on-Thames rather than in North Yorkshire! I'm with you and Leigh on the beer & holiday memories thing. Efes brings back fond reminiscences of a fortnight I spent travelling down the Turkish coast stopping off to sunbathe, drink Efes, loaf on cushions, eat kebabs and puff on a nargileh. Fantastic. Back on topic those do look like damn good grilled meats.

  2. Good meat and cold beer is a very fine way to dine! A little sunshine on your back and it's even better.

  3. Agreed! and yes it is Richmond on Thames, probably should have mentioned that! Was in London for the weekend. The pictures really don't do the food justice, it was lovely.

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