While Berkay was in England last month, we took a trip to a Turkish restaurant in London. It was amazing!
We went to the Efes restaurant on Commercial Road (click HERE for their website), which was recommended by my dad. Don’t get too excited by the name – they didn’t serve any alcohol at all.
It looked quite impressive from the outside, we thought it was going to be expensive, but we were pleasantly surprised! We had a table booked for 7pm, and it was a good job it was booked because when we walked in it was really very busy!
Berkay’s eyes lit up as soon as he walked in and saw the waiters rushing around serving plates full of all the Turkish food he knows and loves, meanwhile all I could concentrate on was the HUGE glass cabinet full of baklava that I could see staring at me! Mmmmm.
The waiters and waitresses were all Turkish and came over to us expecting us to be English – Berkay started talking Turkish to them and they ended up having a ten minute conversation as is customary when Turks meet, all the usual stuff, where are you from, what do you do, where do you work, how much do you weigh? (seriously!) I was just sat trying to chose from the menu.
When the chat was over and I’d heard the normal ‘wow you look Turkish’ that everyone feels the need to tell me, we both decided on getting the Adana Kebab. I’d never had it before, but it was a good choice, although seeing other people’s orders of Pide being bought out made me wish I had chose that instead – it’s my favourite!
While we were waiting for it to be served, we got the typical bowls of bread, salad and dips bought out to the table, this is something I love most about Turkish food – bread is ALWAYS on the table, it was all free too.
We also ordered Lahmacun as I’d never tried it and wanted to, I figured it was almost like Pide, and only cost £2.50 so it was a no-brainer! I suppose it’s like a really thin pizza, it was yummy.
Before we even had a chance to finish the Lahmacun, our main dinner was bought out – Adana kebab. It was a big portion, two long pieces of spicy minced meat grilled over charcoal, rice, grilled tomato & pepper, and of course the big bowl of salad, bread and dips that we had left over from earlier. It was only £10.50 each. It probably sounds weird to say, but it all tasted so …. Turkish. Even the salad tastes exactly as it does out there, how do they do that, what’s the secret?!
The food was gorgeous, and left us absolutely stuffed. After a while, a woman dressed in traditional belly dancer costume came to offer us Turkish tea and of course we couldn’t resist. I thought it was cute how everything was Turkish, even down to the bottles of water and sugar cubes…
Despite being stuffed, I knew that I couldn’t possible leave the restaurant without having some baklava. £4 for 3 pieces it said – I would have quite happily paid more. They bought it out on a little dish, two normal pieces, and one chocolate, but you really can’t beat the normal one, especially with a glass of cay.
Once we polished off the baklava, and Berkay had told his life story to another of the waiters, we asked for the bill, expecting it to be around £30-35 after having two kebabs, two cokes, water, two teas and baklava – but they had only charged us £22. I guess having long conversations and telling life stories to waiters sometimes pays off! We would have happily paid more, because it really was delicious. It made me miss Turkey all the more.
On our way home, we decided to take the long, scenic route as it was our last night together and neither of us could face going home to pack his suitcase yet. I put my GPS on my phone and used google maps to walk from the restaurant to London Bridge station and posed to take photos of Tower Bridge on the way. It took about 45 minutes. Funny story – on the way to the station we got stopped by some foreign tourists looking for a hotel, normally my shy-self would have just said ‘Sorry, don’t know’, but I was feeling especially happy after my Turkish good, so I got my phone GPS back out and typed in the name they wanted – as it happened it was only a 2 minute walk away and they were really grateful – it’s nice to be helpful. (:
We had a lovely last evening together and Berkay now says this restaurant is his new favourite – even better than Nandos! Anyone who knows how much he loves Nandos will know this is a big deal!
Now I just can’t wait to get back to Turkey and eat this food more often. Eeeeeek.
Seems like you had a fabulous evening.
I love lahmacun, it is my favourite I cant be bothered to cook order, 3 lahmacun and lentil soup 12 lira … and it always comes with salad and bread.
This looks great. i will be going to this restaurant when i visit my daughter who is at University in London.
We really miss Turkish food. and one of our favorites is “Backlava” YUM! YUM!
Thanks for the post.
it is funny for me to read this post since all the expats around me are hankering for anything but turkish food and take any opportunity to get out to istanbul or ankara where there is more variety.
Eep! Pide! My absolute favourite! Still haven’t been able to find a place in Geneva that makes it. The worst is one restaurant up the road has it on the menu but it’s completely wrong! They use feta, not even beyaz peynir, and it’s in huge chunks, and the bread is all wrong, and they don’t even have a kiyma version. How can you even pretend to make pide if you’re going to mess it up so badly? I miss pide…
Oh you guys sound like you had a fab time.
When I heard you talking about the Lahmacun which is also my favourite my mouth started to water… I wish they had another branch I’d definitely visit but Southwark is a little far for me…
I’ll have to go as a treat one day…
It’s definitely worth the trip, it was SO cheap too, I was amazed! It wasn’t a little backstreet cafe type of place, it was really well decorated and looked expensive. Berkay loved it, so they must be doing something right, it takes a lot to impress a Turkish person when their own cuisine is involved! x