VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 3.5/5
Note: ALL MEAT SERVED IS HALAL, ALCOHOL IS NOT SERVED ON THE PREMISES.
We’ve been eating tons of Indian and American cuisine lately, so we decided to kick off the bank holiday weekend with a family trip to a Turkish restaurant around the corner from our house: Sultan. East London (Ilford in particular) is an area where Turkish restaurants are constantly popping up on every corner. I can’t lie, I rarely opt for Turkish cuisine as I find the meat they use is usually low quality, fatty and dry, but we took a chance on this occasion.
It was a Friday night at around 8pm, but we were seated almost immediately in an already busy restaurant, and given some complimentary hot flat bread with cacik. Our appetites weren’t huge given that it was a hot day, so we ordered a large mixed mezze platter, a feta cheese plate, Lahmacun pide (turkish pizza), Cop shish and one mixed kebab with rice and shared it all between the four of us.
The food arrived in a timely fashion; cold meze followed by pide and finally the hot meze. The mixed platter included: humus, cacik, aubergine salad Kisir, mücver, cheese rolls (Boregi), fried vegetables and calamari. The items I most enjoyed were the calamari, which was fresh and soft in a crispy batter, and the cheese rolls, which contained feta cheese surrounded by a crisp pastry, which was good value for money at £11. MIL and FIL enjoyed the aubergine salad but it wasn’t really my thing.
I particularly relished the lahmacun which consisted of tasty minced lamb on a thin, light crispy base, served with a crunchy salad. Having said that, the cop shish stole the show for me. Although we found the rice a bit overcooked and starchy, the meat was good quality. The lamb chunks were flavoursome, tender and had a lovely smokey taste from being cooked over charcoal. Likewise the chicken and lamb from the mixed kebab were tender and moist. This was extremely different (in the best way possible!) to my previous experiences with meat in Turkish restaurants.
The meat may have blown me away, but the lack of AC on a hot and stuffy day meant the restaurant itself didn’t quite do the same. The service also left much to be desired as one of the waitress’ behaved as though, somehow, we were a huge inconvenience to her life when we placed our order, and had to be reminded on more than one occasion that we needed glasses to accompany our jug of water. However, they were busy so I’d be willing to let that go on this occasion. Overall the food was better than expected and was probably one of the best Turkish dining experiences I’ve had in the UK. The bill for 4 of us came to £44 including drinks, so you can’t go wrong, especially in London. If you’re looking for a filling but light meal and are a bit strapped for cash, head down to Sultan for a spot of Turkish. I doubt you’ll be left disappointed.