Now this more like it. I’ve been complaining for a while that Beverley is filling up with chain restaurants and the local establishments are getting slowly pushed out.
One victim of this creeping corporatisation was Panizzi, the snug but satisfying Italian/ Mediterranean restaurant just inside the North Bar. But arriving in their stead is Jardelle, a snug but satisfying Turkish restaurant. The little man will, apparently, not be kept down.
Jardelle is the first venture of journeyman restaurant manager Murat Bayar. He’s worked at varying levels in half a dozen restaurants or more in the East Riding for nearly two decades now and this is his first jump into ownership.
He knows his trade and he knows the market, and it’s clear he’s running as tight ship. The restaurant offers just the right thing for Beverley with plenty of lighter choices for lunching shoppers keen to rest their legs as well as more substantial offerings for evening diners. Some may not consider Turkish cuisine for lunch but the smaller meze dishes are absolutely ideal.
The décor has changed little since Panizzi left but it’s been made to feel distinctly more Middle Eastern by the addition of Turkish-looking cushions and ephemera. We ate on a busy Saturday night and it can feel a little closed-in but the staff are so on-the-ball and attentive that the lack of space becomes the only (and easily-forgiven) issue.
The menu has mainly been filled with many dishes with which all of us will be familiar, stuff like humus, tabule and babaganoush (their spellings, not mine) for starters and kalamar and shish for mains. These are the staples that anyone with a nodding acquaintance with the Med all know. There are a few items, though, that were relatively new to me.
Tarator, for instance, was a surprising delight. A mix of pan-fried carrots, spinach, garlic, yogurt, mint and paprika all served together as a dip with pitta chips. A simple, delicious dish but as good as anything we had all night. You may consider yaprak sarma similar to many stuffed vine leaves you’ve had before, but I found these veggie versions equally as tasty as any I’ve had with meat. Borek – triangular filo pasties filled with feta, spinach and meat – I could eat all day long forever. I’ve had them before a few times (there’s a fella in Hull makes them longer and rectangular as a lunchtime snack) but these were particularly light and flavourful. Only barbunya didn’t particularly move me. They were broad beans in tomato sauce and were OK but nothing special. All these were chosen from the hot and cold meze starters, by the way, and cost £3.95 to £5.25, or you can get a mixture of them on hot and cold platters for £9.95. There are other options available.
We had mains of mixed BBQ – lamb, chicken and chicken wings all moistly barbecued and served with bits of salad and rice and stuff for £12.95 – and meatball iskender (£11.95). I’ve had an iskender dish before but this was the first time I’d tried it while not staggering home from the local at half past midnight. The dish is lamb meatballs blathered in tomato sauce, garlic sauce and yogurt with pieces of pitta bread mixed in. It’s very hearty (and I was pleasantly surprised to find it makes just as satisfying a dish in a nice restaurant as it does when sampled while drunk food from a take-away.
Despite already being belt-strainingly stuffed we ordered up desserts of baklava (because what kind of idiot passes up baklava?) and incir, which were just gorgeous. Sticky, unctuous sun-dried figs with a dollop of whipped cream on top, crowned with a walnut. So simple and yet so beautiful. I’ve now learned two words of Turkish – borek and incir - just in case I ever get unexpectedly stranded in East Thrace. That way I can at least eat like a king.
The beer and wine selection is very good too or, for the non-boozers, there is marvellous Turkish tea on offer.
Jardelle isn’t going to change the world, it’s simply a nice Turkish restaurant, but everything is well made and there are enough unfamiliar and intriguing dishes to warrant return visits. The restaurant does, though, nicely fill a gap in Beverley while continuing to fight for the town remaining a haven for independent ventures. On those grounds alone, I hope it stays around for a good while to come.
• Jardelle, 38 North Bar Within, Beverley HU17 8DL. 01482 871964, jardelle.co.uk. Open daily, 12-9.30pm.
DRINKS SELECTION 3/5