Suri hit King Street with a bang this spring, commandeering the venue previously held by Quill. Just a few doors down from El Gato, they also specialise in tapas-style dishes, although the theme is Middle-East meets Mediterranean, rather than Spanish small plates.
Suri is an exciting addition, not only to King Street, but the city as a whole
As you’d expect from a restaurant on the city’s most moneyed shopping street, the venue is beautifully laid out. All whirling tungsten lightbulbs and huge watch-the-world-go-by windows over two stunning floors.
We’re here for the new express menu, designed for daytime diners with a penchant for quality and no time to spare. This menu offer three of the venue’s most popular dishes from a choice of ten, all of which are available on the main menu, for just £15. It’s not a term you’ll often see used about a place on King Street, but that’s a stone-cold bargain.
First, roasted cauliflower florets. Turmeric yellow and charred at the edges, served up with a dip made from red pepper, sesame and aubergine. Cauliflower is tipped as one of 2017’s big food trends, which in most cases is reason enough to steer clear (remember sashimi tacos?) but these are delightful. Softer than you’d expect, and less fiery, but full of light earthy flavours.
The pork rib eye steak is a must-try. Thin strips of pork, coated in Hawaij spices (a blend of cardamom, caraway and saffron amongst others) and barbecued, resting on a smooth chickpea dahl. Portion size is large, with around seven large slices, and the flavours are sweet and fragrant, perfect for this light white pork meat.
The prawns are another winner. Fat pink curls, lightly fried and lay on a bed of smashed avocado and sesame. The beauty of the express menu is its lightness. Nothing feels oily or heavy, but each dish has enough flavour to keep it well away from the dreaded ‘healthy’ section.
Of course, while you’re here you might as well try some dishes from the main menu – split into self-explanatory Fields, Farm and Waves sections. The best dish on the menu by some measure are the Lebanese grilled lamb cutlets. Lamb aficionados will recognise the disappointment at being served scrawny lamb cutlets – none of that here. Three impossibly plump lamb chops coated in cumin, they deliver a shotgun blast of saltiness with each bite.
Suri’s homemade bread and hummus are well worth sampling. The hummus is thick and smooth, made from aubergine, garlic and roasted pepper while the bread is rich with Persian spices, designed to be torn apart and dipped. Craving decadence? Go for the Manchego cheese parcels. These filo pastry triangles hold a blob of soft gooey cheese and a light coating of truffle oil and blossom honey.
The polenta baba rounds things off. This is a wheat-free lemon polenta cake, served up with almonds and a thick layer of whipped mascarpone, with three sliced figs placed artfully on top. It’s light on sweetness, complementing the other dishes well.
Suri is an exciting addition, not only to King Street, but the city as a whole. The menu is tight and honed, boasting exotic flavours and original ideas you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, while the restaurant itself rests in that sweet spot between elegant and informal. The word ‘suri’ has various meanings, “princess” in Hebrew, “the sun” in Sanskrit, and even “pickpocket” in Japanese. In Persian, it means “red rose” – let’s go with that.
Photos by Ian Jones