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.

ROLLERCOASTERS!

On Saturday Berkay & I decided to go for a little trip out. We were planning to get the train to Southend to have a walk along the sea front, visit the aquarium and go on the rides at adventure island, but after looking into it, and realising what would normally be a 45-60 minute car journey was going to take 2.5 hours and cost £40 on the train – late on Friday night we decided we’d go to Thorpe Park instead. It’s crazy to think that this actually worked out slightly cheaper, as it’s 100 x better!

We caught the 8:30 am train from our town to London Waterloo, then another train from Waterloo to Staines. Then we got the shuttle bus from Staines station to Thorpe Park, which was only 10 mins down the road!  I was suprised at how quick the journey was, it only took an hour and a half  to get there altogether, but it seemed a lot quicker. I’m also pretty impressed that I didn’t get us lost once.
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When we arrived Berkay got concerned about the HUGE line of people queuing to get tickets, luckily, we paid for ours online the night before and printed them out so literally walked straight in past the massive line of people and through the ticket scanners.

We went on a few ‘tame’ rides first of all to warm Berkay up, then we attempted the bigg’uns! We queued for an hour and a half to get onto the next ride – Colossus. I can’t believe we waited so long really, not sure if it were really worth it, but we did get back row seats – nothing quite like sitting at the front or back of a big rollercoaster!
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After that we went to go and get some lunch, but on the way we spotted a ride with no queue whatsoever – not even one person. So we made our way over to that. Now I’ve been to Thorpe Park before, so I knew what to expect- but it didn’t take Berkay long to figure out why exactly there was no queue for this ride on a grey, not-too-warm, April day in Surrey…
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The ride in question was ‘Tidal Wave’ – clue is in the name really isn’t it? Up we went in the boat, sat in the front row I must add, we got to the top, the boat went around towards the steep drop and baaaam, it all became clear to Berkay – the huge tidal wave splash flowing into the boat was pretty much like having a shower, we were SOAKED, that’s why nobody else was queuing – who wants to be wet and cold during an English Spring?! I bet the ride is really popular in summer though!  This is my favourite ride in the whole place  – I’ve always loved it because of the theme, 1950’s American fishing village hit by a tsunami- the surrounding area of this ride all blends in well, all the buildings look like they’ve been hit by the ‘tidal wave’ – including the KFC we went into for lunch, the roof is all caved in and wonky with a giant shark poking through the building! I love the 1950’s theme going on – reminds me of Grease, which incidentally I’m currently watching on tv!
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After KFC for lunch, we went to the other side of the park and went on the water raft ride – a nice tame one to keep our KFC safely in our tummies. After that – the spinning teacups – and after that … the big one… Stealth!
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The queue for this ride was suprisingly not as long as I thought it would be – we only waited 45 minutes, and it’s arguably the most popular ride at the park. You really can’t quite comprehend how tall or impressive it is until you’re standing underneath it and hear the gas propelling the coaster, the roar of the cars on the tracks and the screams of everyone riding in it. It accelerates from 0-80mph in 1.8 seconds – impressive! If you’re not quite sat in the right position as it takes off up the track though, you really feel it, the first time it jolted my neck and hurt for a while.
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When your feet are firmly on the ground watching it climb over the tip of the arch, there’s always that bit of doubt in your mind that it might not have enough power to make it quite over and end up rolling back down – something which apparently it is designed to do safely – but that would be scary to experience! When you’re on the ride at the top, all you can see all around you is sky and cloud – no track – not the car in front – just sky. Berkay loved this so much the first time that when we spotted a sign later on in the day advising that the waiting time was currently only 5 minutes for this one – we took advantage and went back on it for a second time!

After that we headed for the newest ride at the park – which was really cool and well designed – apparently it cost £200 MILLION to create. Ouch! The whole area is themed around ‘unexplained incidents’ and riots/war – with a very realistic looking plane crash, upside down burnt out emergency vehicles etc etc.  We loved this one so much we went on it twice too!
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Berkay tried to win me a giant minion teddy as we saw literally HUNDREDS of people walking around the park with them after winning them from the typical things – climb the ladder, basketball shooting etc etc, but it appears we’re just not lucky – he must’ve spent about £20 trying to win one! ):
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After realising that the shortest queues of the day for the big coasters were after 5pm when most people had already gone home – we managed to squeeze in a couple more big rollercoaster rides before heading home. Berkay absolutely loved them and we had a really great day.
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We caught the shuttle bus back to Staines station and spotted a little Chinese/Indian buffet restaurant and took a little detour in there for some dinner. It was soo yummy – especially the cakes for dessert! Mmmmm. After that, we headed home via London Waterloo – I love how old that station looks with the massive clock in the middle! We were so tired and achey from all the walking and being bashed around on rides that as soon as we got home we went to bed, but we had a really fab day, glad we chose to go there, even if it was a last minute decision!
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