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Wood Oven BBQ – South Woodford, London

Today me and my wife, Mrs Rahman visited Wood Oven in South Woodford. I must say was a little reluctant to go based on my recent visits to Turkish restaurants. But this place came highly recommended by couple of close friends, so I thought what the heck.

I am a meat lover, I love red meat, white meat, fish, prawns, curry and any meat that is halal of course. Some of my favourite places are The Meat Company, Tas Firin, Haz, Greedy Cow and Needoos which replaced Tayaabs recently due to their standards dropping in my opinon.

When visiting Turkish or grill kebab places, I like to go for the mix grill to get a taste of all they have so I knew exactly what to order before arriving. Wood Oven looks the same as most grill places, a fridge in front and a chef cooking away in the background. The decor is homely, wooden tiled walls and wood furnishing. As we came in the owner I presume also came in at the same time, we received a warm welcome and excellent service from the waitress.

Now let’s get down to business, what’s the meat saying?? Between me and my wife we order the Wood Oven Special. Lamb shish, Chicken Shish, Kofte Kebab, two lamb chops, two ribs and two chicken wings. What could go wrong? The food arrived within minutes of us ordered. Which seem really strange, apparently there was a mix up with the previous tables order so our order was theirs I guessed.

Let’s start with the presentation, meat covered platter with under laying rice. I know, it’s a grill and kebab place. But based on the high hopes I was expected a little more presentation. Presentation aside it was all about the food. First bite was a lamb shish. A nod to my wife acknowledging it wasn’t bad, in fact it was good. Not over cooked, moist and lots of flavour. Now the chicken, it was just the same, nice and moist and full of a smoky flavour. Maybe the friends recommendations were right.

For a wood oven restaurant I would have expected bread made in house. It was plain nan bread, this was not what those who enjoy Tas Firin or Haz would be too impressed with. For the price it is a pound or two less, so I am not expecting too much. I let the bread pass as it’s only there to slow me down from my meat. The lamb chops and ribs looked identical, I couldn’t tell them apart and nor could my wife. They were burnt and far too salty; the ribs were tough and hard to chew. All that positive love went rocketing down for me. I started on the chicken wing; they were okay but nothing special. The Kofte had too much fat in the mix, also nothing special.

We carried on with the rice and salad; I was wondering if we came at the wrong time of the day, what was the hype about? We finished what we could, the rice was not bad, the salad ordinary. I left feeling the recommendation was like the last two that I wasn’t too impressed with, maybe I am becoming a food snob?! I then reconfirmed myself, for the price you are paying you could do better.

Wood Oven was below average for me; try out Haz in St Pauls, Liverpool St, Hazeve in Canary Wharf, Tas Firin or even Istanbul in Stoke Newington before visiting here.

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