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!
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?
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).
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.