I have been meaning to try this place for ages and never got round to it, so was delighted when some friends suggested we went there for a group meal. Situated almost next door to Mr Chung, Efe’s Meze has a similar clientele – a loyal local audience who have their own particular favourite dishes. Being on Trafalgar Road means virtually no tourists, of course.
It goes back a lot further than I had expected it to and has a pleasingly dark atmosphere, lit with little coloured glass lanterns that remind me of trips to Turkey, and decorated with straggly strands of Devils Ivy. To be honest it’s ever so slightly scruffy – but I rather like scruffy sometimes and had no real problem with it. Of course this means there’s absolutely nothing posh about it – this is not ‘art food’ – just your usual Turkish-type dishes that really do bring back holiday memories (well, for me, at least.)
As you walk in there is a guy grilling all sorts of things from fish to lamb over hot coals, which, if nothing else adds to the atmosphere -and heat. It has the added bonus (for them) of making you feel instantly hungry.
If anything I thought there might be one or two too many dishes on the menu – I always worry when there are so many options, that the restaurants will turn out to be jacks of all trades; masters of none, but a closer inspection did have a lot of basics with slight variations – and that’s fine. Naturally, the best way to enjoy meze dishes like that is to order a selection and share, and that’s exactly what we did for the first course. The squeaky cheese (sorry, haloumi) was grilled to perfection and the dolmi were good and tight, though I packed away more of the stuffed aubergines than anything else (being a particular fan of eggplant.) The taramasalata was a little violent in colour for my liking – a bright pink that reminded me of Gregg’s Bakery Swiss buns, but it tasted fine. There was a livery-offally dish too, but it’s not my cup of tea so I didn’t try it. I’m told it was lovely.
The mains were also good. No surprises in the dishes – just bog-standard Turkish food – but no big deal with that – it was perfectly acceptable food – though admittedly ‘local’ restaurant fare rather than destination stuff…
The wine isn’t great. It’s not as totally undrinkable as some I tasted in Tas recently, but considering that there are some decent Turkish wines around, they could have made a bit more effort.
In an interesting little quirk, I am told that when you turn on the driers in the Gents, the lights dim…