Best Part: The flat bread!
There are a number of restaurant premises in St. Albans that have a quick succession of identities. Ayos is one of these. Extremely well situated between the station and centre of town in a beautiful pointed glass fronted building it occupies the site formerly used by Asia and the Olive Tree. We didn’t make it to the Olive Tree, but we liked eclectic predecessor Asia and were pleased to visit newcomer Ayos in the familiar building. We had heard very positive mutterings amongst the foodie circles in which people like us move (which is to say the school gate).
On the day of our visit, there were about four occupied tables and we got the feeling that dinner would be the ideal time to visit. That said, they had a small but enticing lunch menu at an extremely reasonable price (£9.90 for two courses) and no doubt when word gets around town further (at other school gates) it will be brimming with punters in the middle of the day too. And so it should be.
Our waiter was polite and efficient, the food promptly delivered and the ambience welcoming. It really is a super space. Where it’s openness used to feel cold, now there is only warmth, decorated with terracotta tones and full of mid century wooden dining furniture. An unusual but successful combination. The staff were equally friendly to adults and the toddler dining in the corner with her parents. The toddler was not quite so friendly, refusing his high five. How awkward! Anyway, it makes Ayos good for the family diners as well as friends and lovers. Well toddlers live on hummus and pitta don’t they? So a Turkish eatery is a perfect place for them really!
We decided to embrace our inner toddler and start with hummus. We were delighted. It was creamy and clearly made with high quality olive oil. The warm flat bread too, was out of this world.
Our second shared started was Sigara Bogeri, which as I’m sure I don’t have to tell you are cigar shaped pastry filled with feta and spinach. These were superb, the pastry crisp and slightly oily and the feta salty and creamy in equal measures. There were only 3, sufficient (just) for a starter but I could happily have eaten these for starter, main and dessert. I would probably have needed about 40 though and I don’t think it would have been particularly good for my health, or the review, or society in general really.
Unable to cook vegetarian moussaka at home anymore due to my children and husband’s strong negative sentiment towards aubergine, I leapt at the chance here. Wow, it looked and smelt amazing.
Mr Midweek lunch had some lamb, following his general rule of thumb that if you’re in a Mediterranean restaurant then the lamb is probably worth ordering. And it was. The lamb was tender and doused in lemon once I had finished dousing it in lemon, great big chunks of flavour. It was on some more flatbread, but even flatter this time and so full of taste I wasn’t entirely sure it wasn’t cheese. Very thin cheese. It was more likely to be bread though. Once more he was pleasantly surprised by the salad.
We will certainly be back to try out the evening menu. There is a rumour about being charged extra for apparently complimentary bread. However we did not experience this and can only conclude that our source had been sozzled by the time her bill came. I would recommend Ayos whole heartedly to those near and far. It is an alternative to Tabure or Nimats Bar Meze if you fancy a change.
Welcome newcomer! St Albans Midweek Lunch give you a high five, even if that toddler didn’t!