New Turkish takeaway which cooks over coals shows how kebabs should be done
- Credit: Lauren Cope
It felt like a risky decision ordering from a kebab shop for a review.
No matter how satisfying meat, bread and chips are after a few drinks, who, I thought, really wants to read a review of a doner kebab? (To be honest, I probably would.)
But buoyed on by quickly mounting positive reviews and enticing photos from Shish Go, which opened in December on Plumstead Road in Norwich, we put in our order, keeping our fingers crossed that it would be a masterclass in authentic, quality Turkish food.
Tucked away at the end of a row of shops, a few doors down from popular butcher Archer's, it's easy to miss Shish Go, and I suspect its success will rely on online orders.
But it ended up being one of the best takeaways I've ever had (I'm aware that's high praise) and an absolute gem.
Its menu includes a range of hot and cold mezze dishes, including mixed platters of both, for two, for £11.50 (cold) and £11.90 (hot).
There's also different kebabs, including yogurtlu varieties, which come with yoghurt and fresh tomato and butter sauce, grilled meat and fish, steaks and wraps.
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After spending the day eyeing up the menu (there are two types of people, and I am firmly in that camp), we ordered the sigara boregi (£4.90), fried feta and spinach rolls.
The filo pastry was light, crisp and paper-thin, not at all oily, and the spinach and feta filing equally so - they hadn't suffered from the five-minute delivery drive, and were fresh-out-of-the-kitchen restaurant quality. A light but moreish starter which I'd definitely have again.
After was the sucuk and halloumi (£4.50), which included pieces of grilled halloumi and slices of Turkish, slightly spicy, fermented sausage.
Shish Go cooks over coal and that's immediately clear - all the dishes were like a barbecue in a box and brought the best of that style of cooking. They were light, charred and packed with flavour.
The halloumi had a crisp bite and was reliably salty (and squeaky) and the sucuk packed with tangy meatiness. Next time I'd skip the halloumi and just order more of the sucuk.
We also ordered a pot of the cacik (£3.40), a cucumber, mint and garlic yoghurt very similar to tzatziki. It was fresh (if you fancy playing some sort of bingo with this review, 'fresh' and 'smoky' are likely to be big hitters) and excellent piled on every dish.
We then unboxed the mains, which came packaged in large, square foil containers. It seems odd to rave about the appearance of a takeaway, but these were impressive. Bright, vibrant and displayed beautifully - plated up exactly how you'd hope if you were sat in a restaurant.
The Shish Go special mixed kebab (£22.90), which included chicken and lamb shish and kofte (the former being skewered, marinated cubes of meat, and the latter mince meat combined with spices and formed into patties) and chicken wings. The meat was on a bed of bulgur wheat, rice, grilled peppers and chilis and salad, with pots of cacik and chilli sauce on the side.
It was excellent. Every mouthful was smoky and spice-packed, the meat was tender (my favourite was the lamb kofte), and, while the wings were nice, the shish and kofte were the stars of the show.
Flatbreads, which came with both mains, were the perfect tool for scooping up meat, salad and sauce and mopping up leftovers.
It was more than enough for two - everything we ordered gave us leftovers for two days.
Our second main was the seabass (£13.50), which came whole and also grilled over coals. It was served with the same sides and was beautifully charred and crisp-skinned, smoky, salty and flaky.
There were of course, as with any whole fish, bones to contend with, but certainly not many and I didn't spend the meal plucking them out.
There are a couple of dessert options, including sutlac, a rice pudding for £4,50, but we went for the baklava (£4.50), a layered pastry dessert with chopped nuts and sweetened with honey.
If you're a fan you'll know plenty can be sickly sweet but this wasn't, and instead the flavour of the nuts sang.
It's rare to find a really stand-out meal but this was one - it was refreshing to have a takeaway so fresh and light. Though we'd eaten plenty, neither of us felt greasy or uncomfortable, and it was money well spent.
It's on Just Eat, but if you're hoping to spin by it's accessible, on bus routes (the red line, mainly) and there's limited parking just outside. It has a modern interior and some bar seating.
Prompt - we're only a five-minute drive away which most likely helped keep the food so fresh, but it arrived within about 30 minutes and a friendly woman kept her distance as she put it down.
Value for money
We paid £54.20 (including a 50p service charge), which we didn't begrudge at all. Prices are pretty reasonable, and for the quality, and how much we had leftover, I would have paid more without grumbling.
A solid tick from me. Flavourful, fresh, smoky food and a real treat without the tinge of regret after.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.
How you can support your favourite restaurant in the pandemic
Takeaways - We're, hopefully, in the last stretches of lockdown, but until May 17 many restaurants will still be relying on takeaways and collections.
Vouchers - A valuable way to help businesses, you can buy yourself - or a loved one, as a gift - a voucher now to enjoy when it's safe to do so down the line.
Shop local - Make sure to support restaurant and pub suppliers, including beer, cheese and fruit and vegetables, by shopping local.
Social media - It's not an easy time for many people financially. A simple like on Facebook or follow on Instagram shows support for traders, though, and can help them build exposure.
Don't forget them when they reopen - It might feel like it, but this lockdown isn't forever, and our support should be consistent.
If you like that, try these
Shwarma 1st, Unthank Road, Norwich - Shwarma 1st, has proved a hit with its shwarma wraps and plates, packed with meat and fresh salad. It also serves fatayah, parcels of cheese and spinach, and shwarma pizzas.
Gem of Norwich, Riverside Road, Norwich - Gem offers hot and cold mezze plates and meats and fish grilled over hot coals. It has also in the past run bottomless brunch options.
Mr Mangal, Dereham Road, Norwich - Mr Mangal has glowing reviews for its Turkish cuisine, and Shish Go has a similar menu. It's become a popular spot in the last few years.