The presence of Groupon* on the web has encouraged many people to visit a range of businesses due to the daily availability of Regional (and National) deals and discounts. My mum and I planned our visit to Café Lazz after purchasing a voucher for mixed Meze for two and a glass of wine each for £12.80. This price also included baklava and either coffee or Turkish tea for dessert. Quite simply, the promise of ‘authentic Turkish’ food and ‘a mixture of European and Mediterranean favourites’* at such a reasonable price was too tempting an offer to ignore and as the date neared closer, we were really looking forward to finding out whether this bargain was really as good as it sounded…
Date and Time: Friday 15th April 2011, 19:30
Name of Establishment: Café Lazz
Location: 272 Gloucester Road, Horfield, Bristol
Reason for Visit: Tempting Groupon deal
Located in the midst of the eclectic Gloucester Road, Café Lazz doesn’t really stand out to the passer-by. In fact, from the outside, it could be mistaken as a seedy, late-night takeaway, which is a far cry from the comfortable restaurant that it actually is. Sure, the décor is simplistic, clinical even and the distinct lack of atmosphere due to the non-existent presence of other diners made, at times, for an almost apologetic silence. Yet, the space is clean and tidy and more importantly, the staff are friendly, hard-working and obviously put a great deal of effort into the dishes they deliver. This was particularly evident in the careful presentation of the platter of Turkish Meze, which was served promptly upon our arrival.
Dishes were authentic and tasty. The stuffed vine leaves (Dolma) were a particular favourite as they were rich and herby with just the right measure of dill. The squeak of the grilled halloumi initiated the interesting journey of varying flavours and textures - offsetting the crunch of the falafel’s seasoned coating and providing the calm before the spice of the finely chopped vegetables (ezme). The hummus had a wonderful rugged, homemade taste and the cool creaminess of the tzatziki was a lovely addition to the warmed pitta bread. The only meaty offering was the sucuk, (peppery Turkish sausage to you and me) – I liked this a lot and would have liked to find a couple more carnivorous accompaniments to the plate. However, this certainly wasn’t a deal breaker and I really enjoyed the versatility of the vegetable dishes – especially the aubergine which was marinated in a tangy, full-flavoured tomato-based sauce - yum! I think that the only disappointment was discovering that what was first identified as calamari was in fact, onion rings – an addition which didn’t really fit with the authenticity of other dishes.
The baklava, served with coffee, for dessert was bite-sized but delicious. It had a sweet, gooey texture with the accompanying crunch of roasted nuts. I thought that it was slightly too cold (as if it had been taken straight from the fridge) but enjoyed it nonetheless. During dessert, I had a look at the main menu – although mum and I had used our Groupon voucher, I noted that prices were reasonable and was amazed at the choice of dishes on offer for breakfast, brunch and dinner – Café Lazz seems to have really thought about catering for its target audience and with free Wi-Fi on offer, you can surf and enjoy good-quality nosh at any time of the day.
I certainly intend returning to Café Lazz, particularly during the summer months so that I can sit outside on the decked terrace (located at the rear of the premises). Mum and I both commented how the food had made us feel like we were on holiday - a feeling I’m sure would be heightened by the presence of sunshine and a couple more glasses of vino! It was a shame that on our visit, the restaurant wasn’t better attended but I’m sure that this is not always the case. After all, you should ‘never judge a book by its cover’ – I’m glad that I had incentive to visit Café Lazz as I’m not sure that I would have otherwise and I would have therefore missed out on the tastiest Turkish food I have had for a long time…
And now for the second opinion…
Mum gave Café Lazz a rating of 8/10 and when asked to describe it in three words chose, ‘Turkish Holiday Atmosphere!’