Harrow’s newest town centre restaurant opens today at the site of the old O’Neill’s pub on Station Road, with the ribbon cut by Mayor of Harrow Janet Mote and Gareth Thomas MP.
The original Melissa restaurant opened 8 years ago in Canons Park and is loved by patrons from all over Harrow but also the wider North West London area. “We have weekly visits from customers in Borehamwood and Watford, as well as Barnet and Hillingdon – it made sense for us to branch out into the Town Centre”.
Our Food Friend today is Cetin Kaygusuz who is opening the second of his Melissa restaurants, fittingly on his daughter Melissa’s 22nd Birthday! Cetin started out in hospitality over 30 years ago in some of Antalya’s best restaurants and hotels. Today, he carries the skillset brought about by his many years of work in quality cuisine and service.
A family-run business from the get-go, he appreciates their support on this culinary journey and Harrow’s many foodies are grateful for their support too.
The new restaurant has a fairly luxurious interior – handmade paper flowers adorn the walls, with neon signs taking you on an escapist journey away from Station Road.
It’s a restaurant the town centre has been yearning for for some time and the transformation comes at an important time for the High Street.
We marvel at the aesthetics and then on to the food – we start with a delicious mixed mezze; hummus, baba ghanoush, paticlan sosu (aubergine in a tomato sauce), Ispanic tarator (spinach and yoghurt), purple beetroot and classic stuffed vine leaves. Mayoress Anne isn’t particularly keen on aubergine but can’t get enough of the selection available in this mezze, I think she’s reflective of many who will visit for a quick adventurous bite for lunch!
We move on to the succulent guvec; tender lamb and chicken pieces on beds of rice, alongside flavoursome mixed lamb and chicken kofte and shish pieces. Every bite packed with flavour and satisfying for the taste buds. It’s the first day but this is a restaurant that knows what it is doing – local representatives from the Harrow and Turkish press are here and it’s already a hit with those queuing for an evening takeaway. If you’re out looking for a nice gourmet sit-down, patrons can look no further than central Harrow’s own Melissa.
And don’t forget the sweet, delectable bites of baklava and Turkish tea. It’s a specialty loved by my other food friend today, Harrow Mayor, Cllr Janet Mote.