Peaking too early is something everyone and everything worries about. It’s like winning a tenner on your very first lottery ticket, assuming this stroke of luck is going to lead to bigger wins, but never winning again. No one wants to feel like the best has passed. That it’s not going to get any better than this, or that was it. This is especially the case when it comes to eating a meal. Kyseri is run by the folks who run Oklava in Shoreditch, which is also a modern-Turkish place. Their second restaurant is a very nice but imperfect affair. A victim of its own success, that peaks too early.
Kyseri’s success is the first half of its menu. It’s Sunny Delight in the late 90s. Fruity, tasty, and completely all-engrossing. The menu is ‘designed for sharing’ which is shorthand for ‘it’s designed for the bill to surprise and faintly horrify you’. But that’s London, baby. To be honest, you won’t want to share some of the dishes here, like the feta and candied watermelon salad or hellim bread and fondue. Both are delicious and not your usual snacking suspects. The pasta though, is Kyseri’s peak. It’s you, in your own head, after three drinks and a haircut. Everyone just wants more. The beef and cherry manti - a Turkish dumpling - is the life of the party here. You want one between two. Minimum. Otherwise once you get to the main courses, you’ll regret it.
The problem with Kyseri is that post-pasta, everything pales in comparison. Like that eighth episode on Netflix at 4am, you’ll wish you stopped earlier. Beef short rib, trout, and cabbage are all perfectly nice, but you just don’t need them. Especially when they’re priced £20 or more each. This applies most to the pistachio parfait, a theatrical dessert made tableside, on an ironing board, in a restaurant as wide as a bathtub. Watching it being formed is like watching Austin Power’s three-point turn.
There are two sides to peaking early. Rueing everything that happens after, or savouring the good times. At Kyseri, we’re going with the latter. Because if you play it right - two or three snacks plus every pasta on the menu - then this is a complete success story.
Halloumi bread and a stringy, salty fondue. What’s not to like?
This looks simple. Pitta, feta, some watermelon, and a bit of heat. But it isn’t. It tastes superb.
These thick noodles have ‘that bite’ that people who say they know about pasta always go on about. The lemon-y, cheesy, and silky topping is perfect.
The star of the show here. Just make sure it isn’t taken from the stage early. All that sauce needs to be mopped up.
Warning: a halved corn on the cob is not an ideal sharer between groups of three or more. It tastes good enough though.
Hispi cabbage is flavour of the month these days. We can’t really remember this one from the rest.
This is a super fresh and light plate of food, but we feel like we’ve eaten a lot of similar things elsewhere.
Good, but not that good if you know what mean? The beef is tender, but not that tender. The sauce tasty, but not that tasty. Take it or leave it.
This is one hell of a show for some sugared filo pastry, ice cream, and nuts. It’s just that, really. One for all the sweet tooths out there.