Maz Demir may well be the hottest name in North London dining right now – possibly the whole country.
Off the back of his victory at the British Kebab Awards 2017, Maz and his Turkish restaurant, nestled away at the end of the Piccadilly line in Cockfosters, are looking to expand to a central London location.
Promising “Anatolian with attitude”, this bustling, modern, vibrant atmosphere seems tailor-made for somewhere like Covent Garden or Soho – the open, busy kitchen wafting seductive Mediterranean aromas through the compact dining area.
Key to Skewd’s success in its suburban home, however, is the love and hard graft displayed by its entire team – every ingredient is hand-picked to be the very best and the serving staff are attentive, warm and welcoming.
The restaurant’s trendier, more cosmopolitan aspects – which include an in-house mixologist and a wine list which can only be described as extensive – are given a softer edge by this homely approach, making Skewd possibly the coolest restaurant in London to take the whole family to.
In a concerted effort to move away from the tendencies of Michelin-star fine dining, Skewd’s portions are lavish and generous – mixed mezzes and vegetable skewers erupt with colour, flavour and depth, daring you to underestimate them.
Each dish comes straight from the kitchen looking every bit the product of a labour of love – charcoal-grilled veggies and bread so fresh it’s practically glowing all appear at the table looking beautiful.
But the main attraction, given the increased media attention, was always going to be the kebab and, while I personally stuck to my vegetarian diet, I was sure to bring along my most carnivorous friend to sample the lamb shish.
Laid out along a wafer-thin pitta alongside the most generous bowl of pomegranate-based salad, it looks nothing like your run-of-the-mill chippy kebab – this is the real deal: Anatolian with attitude.
It slices like butter, tender and cooked to perfection – the final result being beyond real articulation for my companion whose praise comes in sighs and grunts of absolute satisfaction.
His verdict: “Easily the best lamb I’ve ever eaten in the UK.”
And he can’t be alone thinking this – Skewd is packed to the rafters as we leave late on a Saturday night, a remarkable achievement for its outer-borough location.
One can only imagine the rapturous success awaiting Maz and his team as the Skewd empire expands towards the City – if they can set up a second operation with the same amount of grit, attention to detail and love as this, then this year’s award is unlikely to be the last.