Turkish Pide in London

 Last week while walking through London trying to find an office, I looked up from my phone GPS and saw a Menu outside a restaurant with some familiar words. I had to do a double take, and when I did I realised that they were Turkish. I glanced up at the restaurant name – ‘Tas Pide’ it said.
Mmm, pide – one of my favourite Turkish foods.

After I’d managed to find the office and done what I needed to do there, I headed back towards the train station. I was wrestling with myself trying to decide whether to go and have lunch in the restaurant or not. I was alone, and I’d picked up a menu list earlier so I knew that things were a little expensive. Eventually I plucked up the courage to go inside, unable to resist the temptation of a proper, Turkish lunch.

The restaurant itself was directly opposite the ‘new’ Shakespears Globe, along Bankside, a short walk away from London Bridge station. It forms part of a chain of ‘Tas’ restaurants in London, each specialising in a different area of Turkish cuisine, this one obviously pide, but it had plenty of other choices on the menu too. The inside of the restaurant was very pretty – a Turkish paradise, vines growing along the walls and across the ceiling, low tables and chairs, nazar/evil eyes hanging from the walls and an open kitchen with large, stone ovens.. It was beautiful, but being the only person dining in there alone, I was a little too nervous to take photos of the decor and risk looking silly!
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I had another look at the menu, which I had already studied outside while trying to convince myself to go in, and decided I’d have my ‘usual’ and compare it to the pide I’ve had in Fethiye so many times. Before I had even ordered, they brought over a bowl of fresh bread, a garlic dip and some olives. I’m not a fan of olives so I didn’t touch those, but the garlic dip was delicious and the bread was perfect.

A short time later, my pide arrived. It looked and smelt amazing. If you don’t know what pide is, it’s a sort of Turkish pizza, with thin, crispy dough moulded into a slight bowl shape, topped with pretty much anything you want. They had a lot of topping options on the menu and although I was tempted by the patlicanli (aubergine) one, I went for the kiymali one – mincemeat, onion, tomato, pepper and parsley. There was an option to have an egg on top too, which sounds vile to me, so needless to say I had it without. It was served with a bowl of crunchy pickled red cabbage. It was delicious. A medium sized portion, perfectly crunchy on the top but soft at the base, lots of fresh toppings and not greasy at all. Of course it’s not quite the same as eating in Fethiye, but you have to work with what you’ve got, right?
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I was tempted to have baklava for desert, but decided it was too expensive and I was too full to justify a whole portion to myself anyway. That’s the downside to the restaurant… the prices. Perhaps it’s just because I begrudge paying £8.40 for something that I know I can get for less than £1.50 in Fethiye, but the prices were very high for what the food actually was. I took a couple of photos of the menu leaflet to give you an idea (click the photos to enlarge them and make them more readable).
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The starters were particularly expensive, and although they sounded yummy, I’d never pay that much for them. The main dishes of pide ranged from £8.10-£9.95 and the other main courses varied in price from around £9 to £14. I don’t know the size of the other portions so can’t comment on value for money, but I do know that for what those dishes are, it’s a lot of money. I’m certain that Berkay would go into shock if I told him I’d paid the equivalent of 31 tl for one pide – I don’t think he’s ever paid more than 5 tl!

All that being said, I was definitely glad I’d decided to try the restaurant because it really cheered me up after a rubbish day and I’d go back again for a special occasion, I just have to convince my family that Turkish food isn’t evil first! They rarely stray away from a chicken schnitzel or a steak while in Turkey!

Have you tried pide? Have you, or will you be paying this restaurant a visit next time you’re in London? Let me know.

Turkish restaurant in London.

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!
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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.
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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.
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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?!
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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…
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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.
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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.
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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.