Sample authentic Turkish dishes at Misya in Stevenage’s Old Town
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Misya, an ancient district of Anatolia, now part of modern Turkey, lends its name to a family-run Turkish restaurant in Stevenage’s Old Town.
Family and food play a big part in Turkish life, and it’s no different at Misya, which opened back in 2016. You can spot owner Isa Demir and the rest of his clan working front and back of house.
He is the third generation of his family to run a restaurant, having previously managed similar eateries in the Turkish enclaves of North London.
He says opening Misya, the family’s first and only branch in Stevenage, has been a journey. He first got an idea to bring authentic Turkish cuisine to the people of Hertfordshire while working in a takeaway in Royston more than 15 years ago.
“I travelled through Stevenage on the way back into London, and knew I wanted to open a place here one day,” he adds.
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Misya is one of the first Turkish restaurants to open in the area, and brings authentic tastes of Turkey to the Old Town.
Everything is made by hand in the open kitchen, including the baklava, a rich sweet pastry with chopped nuts, and a creamy rich Turkish rice pudding called sutlac. The bread is baked daily on-site.
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There is a selection of Turkish wines available that pair perfectly with each course, or try Efes Draft, a semi-pasteurised Turkish lager with a refreshing flavour.
Isa adds: “The other restaurant owners in London used to come to our place to eat because it’s like being back in Turkey. We eat and drink in much the same way when we’re at home, and we try and replicate that at Misya.”
It’s not all lamb and chicken kebabs; seafood plays a big part in Turkish cuisine and in turn Misya’s menu.
The region Isa hails from has a coastline on the inland Sea of Marmara, which is connected to the Aegean Sea in the east. The Black Sea lies to the north via the Bosphorus strait, which runs through the country’s capital Istanbul.
Among the many warm starters, or meze, is midye tava (pan-fried mussels cooked with garlic in a tangy sauce), and for mains, charcoal-grilled sea bass, salmon or even swordfish is available.
House specials include a chicken and vegetable stew ‘tavuk guvec’ (a guvec is a traditional earthenware pot). Diced chicken, onions, aubergine, mushrooms, tomatoes, and potato are simmered low and slow with a special blend of herbs and spices to create a delicious, tender dish.
“Everyone we’ve met since opening have been good honest people,” says Isa.
“Stevenage has accepted us as family, and we have them!”
Book a table at misyamezegrill.co.uk, or call 01438 487767.