I don’t pretend to know much about Turkish food. My one visit to the country was years ago to a Club Med resort in Antalya. As you know, they serve up massive buffets of “local cuisine” which is probably not too authentic. All I know about Pide and Lahmacun, I learnt from those on Green Lanes.
Meanwhile, back in London, Turkish cuisine seems to be the new trend. If Alan Yau is opening up a Turkish place (Babaji in Soho), it must be really now.
Selin Kiazim, who worked with Peter Gordon at Kopapa has opened her own place in Shoreditch. She has designed a menu with some modern Turkish Cypriot dishes and some street food like Pide that has been elevated. The restaurant is not a very big space dominated by the theatre of the open plan kitchen. The tables are quite close together and when the restaurant is full, it can get quite loud (lots of hard surfaces), so probably not the best place for an intimate date.
After hearing great things about this place, we were quite excited to try it out. Most of the dishes on the menu is served in little sharing platters. The service is quite infomal, with dishes turning up when they are ready. Don’t expect a structured 3 course meal fashion.
Waiting on the table was some sliced bread and some Medjool date butter. Biting into this without knowing what it was would probably surprise as it is both sweet and savoury. We ordered a few dishes from the vegetable section, added a meat dish that has been raved about and the daily special.
First to arrive was the courgette fritters with feta and mint, a bit more substantial than normal. Each dish is perfect for a couple to share, enough of a taste and plenty of space to discover more from the menu.
This dish will make you fall in love with carrots. She teamed it with so many different flavours and textures. The spicy muhammarra, crispy shards, fresh slices of carrots and salad in a tangy dressing. This was our favorite dish.
The dishes were arriving on our little table faster than we could finish them. Although we didn’t have enough space on the table, having all the different dishes at the same time worked really well. If you all your food on one plate, this will probably not work for you.
We had a few dishes of salads and vegetables and each one could have been a course all by itself. This one is a recipe that I am going to steal. Chilli Roast Cauliflower topped with pistachios. Crunchy, spicy, layers of unexpected flavours.
The lamb’s breast served like this does it a disservice. By itself, it is a sensational plate of meat. A little bit crispy, butter soft from the braising and coated in this unctuous sauce. If you go, order this for yourself and indulge. We weren’t drinking, so did not even look a the wine list.
When it came to pudding, it looked like it came out of a different kitchen. Highly stylised deconstructed chocolate shards with some fruit and yoghurt. We had to share one and it was just the right finish to a very enjoyable meal.
What a great re introduction to Turkish food. Unique flavours, a great variety, executed well. I’ll definitely be back for that braised lamb dish.