Sen BBQ, Cardiff – review

With most kebab shops, what you see is what you get, but that’s certainly not the case with Sen BBQ.

The reason that Canton is one the hippest places to live in the UK has to be because you can easily amble home after a night out and stop off for a kebab on the way, and at the same time have a bevyy of offbeat Cardiff independents at your fingertips. Sen BBQ is a combination of the two. Tucked away at the back of this seemingly standard kebab shop is a small family-friendly restaurant space serving some top notch Turkish specials.

How do I know about it? Some police officer friends used to rave about Sen when it was in Newport (it still is in Newport, but the Cardiff shop is now under the Mr Sen). And my recent visit proved even the Cardiff one is now popular with the PoPo – we saw plenty of police pop in to pick up their well-deserved nosh while we dined.

Still I was skeptical. A bunch of kebab-thirsty old Bill doesn’t mean it should appeal to civies hoping for a nice meal.

Mr Sen spoilt us with some on-the-house Lahmacun – traditional thin based Turkish pide, or pita bread, topped with minced meat and herbs. Twas delicious.

I then opted for the garlic and cheese mushrooms served with warm fresh Sen bread. It may not be much to look at, but the Turkish spices made it so yummy, I would have been happy to eat that on its own! And the Sen bread was something special. Then for my main I chose a lamb shish; juicy junks of spiced meat cooked moreishly medium with rice and salad on the side and more delicious  Sen bread.

And much to my surprise, after stepping under the kebab shop sign and taking in the tired decor, I enjoyed it. It felt secret and genuinely authentic, and I loved that. Plus Mr Sen is so hospitable, and if you’re opting for a takeaway he’ll serve you up a cup of traditional Turkish tea.

My eat of the week

  • Lahmacun – £3.50
  • Garlic and cheese mushrooms served with Sen bread – £4.70
  • Lamb shish, with salad, rice and homemade Sen bread – £8.50

Cheapest main

  • Chicken shawarma – £7

Most expensive main

  • BBQ mix – combination of three shish kebabs – £12.50
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