Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Restaurant Review: Antepliler

A Friday night kebab is completely delicious... at the time... because if you're having one you're drunk!  Sober they are disgusting as you can imagine.  That's probably all you can do, but I know from experience, because of the cold winter's day in 6th Form when I decided to get one for lunch.  By the time I'd got back the grease had solidified into something that looked like (if I'm being generous) candle wax and covered the grey quite scary looking meat.  This is a sad and completely unfair representation of Turkish food, but is what most people eat most regularly.  But, seeing as I now live near Manor House I'm completely spoilt for choice for incredible Turkish food and delicious char grilled kebab and Antepliler is definitely the pick of the bunch so far.

This is a neighbourhood restaurant, pretty big and plainly kitted out.  At the front there is an enormous wood fired brick oven for the Pide and Lahmacun.  These are related to pizza, though they probably came first.  Pide is larger with more ingredients, normally has some cheese on top and is partially folded in on itself creating a sort of boat shape.  I've only had one of these and it was okay, but I much prefer the thinner (and much cheaper at £2.50) Lahmacun.  These have a very thin crispy base, with tomato onion or garlic and minced lamb on top, cooked until the base is very slightly blistered.  They're absolutely delicious, the smoke from the oven gives an intense rich taste to the lamb and base and the sweetness and sharpness from the tomatoes gives it balance.


My two favourite dishes here are Ali Nazik and Kaburgah.  The first is a mix of thick Turkish yoghurt, mashed, smoky aubergine and fried diced lamb on top.  This is soft and moreish, perfect to scoop up with the endless supply of bread.  The second is a plate of charcoal grilled lamb short ribs, which are rubbed with somethings slightly sweet on top that gives a lovely caramelised edge to the finished dish.  They are grilled long enough to make the fat crispy and soft inside.  It also comes served with a nice and very buttery chickpea and vermicelli pilaff rice.

Ali Nazik

Hommous with fried meat on top is good except that despite it being listed as a hot dish it sometimes comes cold.  Also nice are the cig kofte, small patties of meat made with raw lamb, pistachio and a lot of sweet and fragrant spices.  The lamb here is very very lean, which is important as it stops the whole thing being overpowered by a strong flavour of lamb fat.  Very nice wrapped up in a lettuce leaf and squeezed with lemon.

The service can be a bit changeable, but in general is friendly.  The food is comforting, lots of well grilled meat dishes, which are very well done.  The stews, which take 55 minutes aren't really worth it, but in general the menu is good and the baklava (they have a dedicated bakery you can buy this next door) is fantastic.  The food's not mind-blowing, but it is excellent, comforting home-style cooking, and a   good sized meal for two without drinks should cost about £10-15, so good value too.  Definitely a better choice for a takeaway lunch in the freezing cold.

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