CAFE ISTANBUL, BRIDGE STREET
It’s never going to win great accolades but this very long-standing restaurant is probably where you’re going to go if you want to eat Turkish food in the city centre (but for better Turkish-ish food, then try the Armenian on Albert Square). It provides a good dinner , albeit one lacking any WOW factor. But there’s a nice room, excellent service, a menu that widens out from just kebabs and provides a really excellent selection of decent wines by the glass.
They offer a mezze plate as a starter but we decided to make our own. Stuffed vine leaves were very much what you’d expect (except in voice heavy with condemnation, my partner pronounced Marks & Sparks to be better flavoured). A portion of sucuk brought several slices of char-grilled spicy sausage. We’d not had this before so have no idea what it’s supposed to be like – but I liked the firm, slightly chewy texture and the hit from chilli. A plate of mixed olives and pickled chilli peppers were well flavoured; the crispness of the peppers making up for the fact that, on first bite, the pickling juice ran down my shirt front. Best of all was imam bayildi – a dish we make at home and confirm this was a good effort. As expected, the aubergine, tomatoes, peppers and onion were all cooked through till soft but not to a mush, so each could still be tasted. Would have been even better if the kitchen had got it out of the fridge before service.
A main of lamb casserole was a large portion of meat, peppers, tomato together with a thin sauce. It was OK but was somewhat one-dimensional and really needed “something” doing to it to lift it. Came with salad and some very flavoursome and perfectly cooked rice.
Lamb was also the other main. This time a large chunk of very slow roasted leg that simply pulled apart with the fork. It came with an apricot sauce which worked reasonably well adding a sweetness but, perhaps, a little too sweet. Rice was also here and a few quickly sautéed veg (carrot, courgette, mangetout).
We went away satisfied and very full. It was a good feed.
Edited by Harters, 15 June 2010 - 02:06 PM.