My geography trivia knowledge is seriously ropey.
It was only this year I discovered that Washington D.C. isn’t in Washington State. Surely, I ignorantly believed, it’s only logical they’re in the same place.
Also, when it comes to the locations of British counties, I’m pretty clueless too. This is evidenced by my embarrassingly low high score on County Count-up.
So, you can imagine, when I heard City Road’s latest addition was Oz Urfa, a Mesopotamian restaurant, my first response was: Mesopotamia?
A quick Wikipedia search later, I was enlightened and back in familiar City Road territory. Kebabs.
Well, mostly kebabs. Oz Urfa also has a large selection of mezze for starters and some interesting casseroles and grilled fish dishes for mains.
On the Friday evening we visited, Oz Urfa was rammed. I’m guessing this is in part due to its high ranking on Tripadvisor, but also because there are only six tables. Its diddy size along with the bustling open plan kitchen and warm service all contribute to a cosy, homely feel.
Whilst we ordered soft drinks to go with our meal, we became increasingly envious of the tables next to us making good use of Oz Urfa’s BYOB policy.
Starters were excellent. A complimentary basket of bread was up there with the best I’ve eaten on City Road – warm, soft and plentiful.
The standouts of our very good mixed meze (£4) were a light hummus, a zingy mint yoghurt dip, and a spicy, red-coloured dish made with peppers, aubergines and sun-dried tomatoes.
A wonderfully fresh, salad of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and pomegranate seeds, was dressed with sweet pomegranate juice and olive oil.
Lahmacun (£2), a Turkish pizza, was well proportioned, flavoured and priced; the thin, crisp base was topped with finely ground, spiced lamb.
However, things went off-menu with our mains.
My siverek, a mixed kebab (£10) was missing the advertised chicken shish & lamb rib. This left me with well seasoned yet slightly dry lamb kofta, superbly juicy flame-licked chicken wings and disappointingly chewy lamb shish.
A mound of sticky, buttery, noodle flecked rice and a chargrilled green pepper and tomatoes were both excellent additions to the place.
Mrs G’s main was even more renegade. Despite ordering Ali Nazik (£10), a dish of smoky aubergine topped with chicken shish, she ended up with a casserole, albeit a very good casserole.
The bubbling stew comprised of tender chicken, sweet tomatoes and soft onions in a peppery, garlicky, buttery sauce. When we pointed out the error to the helpful waiter, a plate of rather good aubergine béchamel was delivered. Apparently, the two would combine to make Mrs G’s original order; I’m not convinced.
Going someway to make up for the main course mess-up was a superb complimentary plate of warm, crisp baklava oozing with syrup and nuts.
I wish I could praise our meal at Oz Urfa without fault. However, the middle of the meal was just a bit too skew-whiff. In spite of this, I’d happily recommend a visit – it would be worth the trip even for the bread and baklava alone.
Address - Oz Urfa, 156 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3DR
Telephone - 07939429751