We review The Sheesh Turkish barbecue restaurant in Bury St Edmunds' Risbygate Street
Just outside Bury St Edmunds town centre is a restaurant with food so packed with flavour it is worth ditching the diet for.
And I should know, as that's just what I did when we visited The Sheesh, in Risbygate Street, for a family meal.
The Sheesh describes its food as premium-quality Turkish barbecue for eat-in and takeaway – and after our visit I'd say that was pretty accurate.
At first glance you might think The Sheesh is merely a takeaway, but you would be wrong. On entering the venue you need to walk through the takeaway section at the entrance to get to the sit down restaurant, but it is a walk worth making.
We had booked our table for 5pm on Saturday knowing that in all likelihood the restaurant would be quiet, but that it was also a good time to feed our five-year-old daughter.
As predicted, we were the first sit down diners but we were made to feel comfortable and welcome (and it wasn't long before an influx of other customers gave the restaurant a Saturday evening buzz).
Reading the menu was a delight. Yes, I mean it, because (as a vegetarian) I was utterly spoiled for choice.
When I spotted houmous in the cold starters section, I immediately suspected it would be my selection.
Described on the menu as puréed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, I wanted to check with the waiter if it was served with anything else. I was assured it would arrive with warm bread, so my decision was made.
He was right. A basket with steaming freshly-baked flatbread arrived with the houmous, so I set about scooping the tasty houmous out of the bowl, on to the bread and into my mouth. It was delicious.
My husband opted for sucuk izcara – spicy Turkish sausage – which came well presented with accompaniments of salad, red onion and pickles.
"This is really good," he said before unsuccessfully attempting to persuade our daughter to try some.
She had decided against a starter, but luckily the restaurant's children's menu includes childhood staples chicken nuggets and fish fingers (all served with chips), but we were not able to entice Clara to order a chicken shish from the children's selection.
As always unwilling to try anything new, she plumped for chicken nuggets.
When her meal arrived, we were all impressed. It was presented very well – about as well as a kid's meal could be presented – with sauces and a little salad ("I'm not eating that," said Clara on spying the cucumber and tomatoes, before tearing into the rest of her meal).
For adults, the main menu offers a great variety of dishes, including kebabs, house specials, grilled fish, burgers, salads and vegetarian options.
My husband opted for sarma chicken beyti – specially-prepared and chargrilled minced chicken skewers wrapped in thin homemade bread topped with butter and tomato sauce, served with rice, yoghurt and salad – which he is still talking about 10 days later, he was that impressed.
Meanwhile, vegetarians have a good menu selection, with the description of every dish sounding tempting to me.
Then I spotted vegetarian iskender – chargrilled vegetables served on toasted bread with special tomato sauce with yoghurt and melted butter sauce served with salad. It sounded intriguing so I had to order it.
The vegetables were flavoursome, while I enjoyed digging to the bottom of the dish to discover the toasted flatbread underneath. Arriving with an unexpected bowl of rice (very tasty, but not listed on the menu description so it was a pleasant surprise), there was probably enough food to fill two adult stomachs – bearing in mind I had already devoured a hefty portion of houmous with flatbread.
Eventually, I had to admit defeat. With the delicious chargrilled vegetables and bread devoured, I attempted a few mouthfuls of the rice before having to set my fork aside.
After all, I did want to join my daughter in having a dessert.
On looking through the dessert menu I eventually settled on the frisson – raspberry and mango sorbet topped with fresh berries and cherry purée.
And it was the perfect selection. It was not heavy (for my already rounded tummy) and tasted crisp, light and fruity.
Clara had arrived at the restaurant already set on her dessert choice. It did not matter what was on the menu, she knew she wanted ice cream.
Luckily it was there, at the bottom of the dessert menu (but top choice for a five-year-old), so she was delivered a plate of tasty chocolate, strawberry and Madagascan vanilla scoops.
Then we just about had time for two leisurely coffees before settling the bill and leaving the by-now almost full restaurant.
The Sheesh is open from noon every day but is often fairly quiet until the evening, according to the owners.
That is a shame, as the restaurant offers dishes and an ambience I could enjoy at any time of the day. It gets the thumbs-up from this family.
About The Sheesh
- The Turkish barbecue restaurant opens every day from noon-10pm, with a lunch menu available.
- It offers 'premium quality authentic Turkish barbecue for eat-in or takeaway' while its website says all dishes are freshly cooked to order.
- You can order online for collection – go to the-sheesh.co.uk
- Reservations can be made online, but it is advised to call the restaurant for same-day bookings (especially on Fridays and Saturdays) on 01284 700002.