Turkish food is fast becoming one of my favourites. Influenced by both European and Asian cooking, it is one of the most varied cuisines in the world. The combination of meat, fish, salad, rice and pitta, preceded by meze is delicious and healthy. Apparently there are over 100 ways to cook aubergines (my favourite vegetable) so I’m looking forward to eventually tasting them all. I’m going to an Anatolian restaurant Tas Pide next week to try their version of pizza.
I ‘celebrated’ getting a year older at the weekend with a group of friends at the excellent Efes 2. Tasteless décor, live Turkish music and belly dancing are an unlikely combination for a great night out, but the food is amazing. We were greeted at the door by a waiter with a moustache to rival Tom Selleck’s and were lead down gloomy stairs to our table. We ordered house wine and Efes beers and waited for our menus which seemed to take a long time as a few waiters preferred to huddle in the corner apparently discussing something. One of the waiters eventually approached me and asked if we wanted the set menu. Since no one seemed interested in a desert or tea/coffee, I politely declined which seemed to annoy him so he asked me again. I would have liked to have said to him in Turkish “which part of no ‘we don’t want the set menu’ don’t you understand” but alas, my knowledge of Turkish doesn’t stretch that far. At this point we realised that he must have been told by his boss to persuade the gullable pissed group to go for the set menu.
Half demolished Yojurti main course
When the starters of mixed mezes did arrive, the only disappointment was that they weren’t as big as they had been on previous visits - we embarrassingly told everyone to order this to share. It proved to be enough though as the main courses were pretty big. The plates of meze consisted of delicious hummus and various spicy dips served with warm pitta. The piece de resistance however was the Arnavut Cigeri, pieces of liver and onions cooked in paprika which provoked mixed reactions – you either love liver or you hate it. I also ate some of a friend's kidney (from his plate) which at the time I said I liked – I was just showing off. When it comes to eating internal organs, I draw the line at liver.
Turkish live entertainment
For the main course I ordered yogurti which was a tasty mixture of different Koftas with salad, yogurt and pitta bread. As we were eating, the live music started. It sounded fantastic and the singer showed wonderful vocal talent hitting high and low notes effortlessly. Waiters dragged a few of us up to dance but none stayed on the dancefloor longer than 10 seconds as we hadn’t quite had enough wine. The belly dancer appeared after a while and danced around the room whilst Turkish looking extras from Goodfellas tucked 10 pound notes into her skirt. Suddenly the bill appeared which we hadn’t asked for – a shame since we probably would’ve stayed a bit longer and had a few more drinks.