Skewd came onto the radar while I was judging the British Kebab Awards in 2017: chef/director Maz Demir won Chef of the Year then and in 2018. I went to see what was going on in EN4. Their slick website and edgy modern logo offered a few clues: attitude, considered branding, and a touch of well, Cockyfosters.
‘Anatolians with Attitude’ is emblazoned on Skewd’s menus. A monster mangal dominates the back room, a glance at the grill on the coals revealing huge chunks of meat a couple of notches above the usual Turkish fare, both in size and quality. A battalion of cooks bustle further back, feverishly chopping sparky salads, studded with pomegranate jewels. Grilled sea bass and sea bream spit and hiss on the grill; one wall boasts soundbites and Skewd facts – the big Zirhbiçak blade that minces the meat and the age of their balsamic ….
Meals start with complimentary balon ekmek(‘balloon bread’), a thin air-filled dome topped with nigella and sesame seeds, baked fresh in the welcoming stone oven, where chef moulds dough for the pide and mini-lahmacun.
I check out their Adana kebab, the spicy minced meat skewer originating from south-eastern Turkey with its own protected status, a good sign for gourmets. Anatolian attitude? Bring it on. They brought it, alright. A contender for one of the best Adana in town: plump, bristling with the char of the grill and Turkish pepper flakes, it’s a depth charge of succulence and seasoning, oozing its fatty lamb juices onto the thinnest sheet of lavash style bread.
As for the bulgur kofte, these little torpedoes of bulgur wheat stuffed with minced meat, onions and spices, are rarely seen on London’s Turkish menus. They make an excellent delicately-scented beer snack. The mixed shish and those fat chunks on the grill don’t disappoint: juicy, joyous, seasoned hectically…in a good way. Kebabs come on stylish thin plates as long as the skewer they were grilled on, atop that thin layer of lavash bread. Mini-lahmacun are purrdy little things, but the minced lamb pide delivers the same lahmacun-esque topping of minced lamb fillet, and is a more satisfying plate.
Cockfosters Parade will never lure sightseers, but the thrum indicates Skewd’s loyal phalanx of North Londoners. Anatolians with attitude? Turkish swagger, for sure.
Skewd Kitchen, 12 Cockfosters Parade, Barnet EN4 0BX.