Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Turkish Delight

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 d├ęcor, 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.



Waiters try to get the girls to dance

8 comments:

Aidan said...

Lovely stuff. And happy belated birthday, may you have a fine'n'dandy year ahead...
When I used to drive regularly to Spurs games (ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now), my friend and I were always intrigued by the place off the White Hart Lane roundabout, "Harem Dine And Dance", for which our imaginations, er, imagined all sorts of, er, stuff, but which we never got around to sampling... Cowards, both of us...
Though at one point, we did tie our eventual visit to Steffen Freund scoring a goal, so I suppose it was never going to happen...
Went to Turkey in 1995 and loved the food, tucking into the always-rewarding "meat-mix" plates ever and often - though for various reasons became a veggie a few weeks on returning.
An excellent 'last hurrah' it was, though...

a.c.t said...

We're thinking about going to Turkey this summer as it happens. There's nothing that pleases me more than the idea of sipping a beer in the sunshine and chomping my way through various meat dishes. Although I'm a bit sceptical now after you becoming a vegetarian soon after. Did you have a meat overdose?
By the way I've been trying to leave a comment on yours but it doesn't seem to be working. It might be the pc this end - i'll try again later.

Aidan said...

No, the food - especially the meat - was superb, it was merely coincidental I gave up not long afterwards for different, dull other reasons (sad to say, a Macca concert film the following month sowed a few veggie seeds, and I decided to give up meat briefly as a challenge to myself - and never felt the desire to go back... Though, then again, I've not returned to Turkey and its flavoursome fare either, maybe that's the key...)
Enjoy!

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Byron said...

Tas Pide rocks! And so do Spurs.
I'll put a link to your page soon.
Thanks for your visit to Byronic and keep in touch.

a.c.t said...

Thanks, I'll return the favour. I agree, TAS Pide does rock, but I'm not so sure about Spurs... ;-)

Byron said...

Well, hey. I just had to chose a team when I moved to the UK and opted for the one that was in the same place in the league as my home team, Bologna FC - turned out to be Spurs. What can you do?

May I also suggesty you try Gallipoli on Upper Street N1? It's my local Turkish restaurant, and best value for money in London. It even has the approval of my Greek housemate!

a.c.t said...

I've been but I can't remember which one of the three I went to. Is there any difference? It was fantastic. There is also another great Turkish place called Iznik on Highbury Park.