We head to Hatch for some of the best street food in the city right now
WHEN we arrived at Hatch on a Tuesday lunchtime, it took us a while to even find Mezze, the Cypriot kitchen and bar we were there to check out.
It's right at the back of this cluster of independent shops and bars, hidden from Oxford Road, and about as far into the concrete cavern beneath the M60 as you can get.
An inner-city motorway bridge sounds like the least-appealing-location-ever for your lunch hour. But the team here have somehow made it work.
You approach Mezze along a passageway lit by flame heaters and decorated with twinkly fairy lights – it looks like a tiny taverna on a charming side street in a wintry European city.
There are candlelit tables inside and out, and a heated 'dining room' for all the food places in Hatch to share. There was a storm raging outside but in here, we were warm and dry, and yet loving the al-fresco winter eating feel. Who knew the M60 underpass could feel so cosy and inviting?
But we didn't come here for the urban-regeneration vibes. It was the food that tempted us - specifically the photographs of Mezze's flatbreads and stews on their Instagram. Lord, it looked healthy. And yet comforting. And yet indulgent. Better think of a reason to try it at our employer's expense, we thought.
So off we went and this is what we had:
The Chicken Flatbread (£7.50)
A flatbread piled high with all manner of fresh, unprocessed, vitamin-packed goodness. Think juicy charred peppers and tomatoes, ribbons of onion and cucumber, deep green baby leaf salad, and a generous portion of marinated charcoal-grilled chicken (with grilled halloumi on top because why not?) Aside from the melted cheese (ok, and the chips) it was a very healthy lunch that left us full but not stuffed. As good as it looked on the 'gram.
The Fasulye Rice Box (£7.50)
Joint owner Ali, who runs Mezze with his daughter Charlotte, explained that this green bean stew is a classic dish in Turkey. It's dead simple yet utterly addictive, particularly with the tomato and garlic sauce soaking into a box of warm rice. There's a crunchy salad on there too for extra vitamin C power. Nourishing and warming, we couldn't leave it alone.
Lamb Kofta and Rice (£7.50)
That beautiful rice again, this time topped with thick wedges of lamb marinated in mint and spices before being charcoal-grilled. It's mixed in with a rainbow salad of crispy purple cabbage, green and red peppers, fresh parsley, tomatoes, white onions and yoghurt dressing. It's your five-a-day in one meal and it tastes fantastic. Go and eat this, today.