On the hottest day of the year to date, we were looking for a lunch whose flavours were as warm as the sunshine outside. Souk Kitchen, south of the Avon, was exactly right. The food at this small, brightly tiled cafe draws on the traditions of North Africa, the East Mediterranean and the Middle East, but leaves room for local, seasonal British ingredients.
We choose a very late breakfast of poached eggs on courgette, sweetcorn and feta fritters, whose sweet, mild vegetables are balanced by the saltiness of the cheese. The dish develops an additional intensity when piled on a fork with plenty of the accompanying sweet-spiced chilli jam and peppery dill.
On surrounding tables, the mezze option proved popular. There are Syrian lentils and crispy onions calmed by a slick of yogurt; cauliflower caramelised until it surrenders a nuttiness that is perfect paired with tahini sauce; and an array of dips to be scooped up with za’atar flatbread.
Larger dishes are also available at lunch and through into the evening service. A pan-fried fillet of fish, cooked just-so until it is flaking gently into a bed of tabbouleh, looked so good that I considered asking its owner if I could try a bite. Roasted chicken leg on a squash, chickpea and red pepper salad induced a similar level of food envy.
I must confess a slight disappointment with the lengthy wait for our food. Yet with the sunshine streaming through the window on one side of us and colourful tiles on the other, the delay didn’t seem such a hardship. I certainly won’t be waiting very long to return and sample the many other tempting items on the menu.