Saturday, 2 January 2016


I tell you what, I do love a mezze style dinner. When I was younger we would call it a "picnic tea". We'd place little bits of nibbly food around the table and just help ourselves to all the little treats on offer. When we walked past Tas Pide during our trip to London's Southwark area we were intrigued and when we checked the menu out and saw all the tasty sounding Turkish treats we knew we had to give them a try. We booked a table and off we trotted!

Having walked along the river on a chilly December evening, we arrived in the midst of Christmas party season and so we entered into an already packed restaurant but we were still greeted with a friendly welcome and taken to our seat. Tables are quite close to each other however this is in keeping with the sharing style of the mezze (or meze as the Turkish would spell it) dishes on offer. The decor is a gorgeous mix of wooden beams lining the walls and ceilings, very much in keeping with the Shakespearean architecture of the neighboring Globe theatre whilst every now and then you would catch a glimpse of a few vine leaves creeping up the walls to add that touch of Western Asia to the mix.

We were sat very close to the open plan kitchen although in fairness every seat is close as the kitchen lines the whole far wall, great for drooling over all the food as it was transported over the pass. A large clay oven looms over the busy chefs and the smell of the dishes wafting over had my mouth watering. With so much on offer we decided it was best to go with one of the set menus on offer. This was three courses starting with a round of meze dishes, followed by a main and then a dessert. Whilst we waited for our first course we were presented with bread, olives and dip. A great touch! This focaccia like bread was incredible too! A light crust, fluffy and warm on the inside, that clay oven baked difference could defiantly be tasted. My expectations for this meal just went up a notch.

And thus the meze began. First off I'd like to say to amount you get for two people sharing is immense so make sure you're hungry before you order one of the sharing options on the menu! Ready? Then let's start with the hummus. Standard really! Made with garlic and tahini, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a smidge of dill, this smooth hummus was delicious especially when scooped up on some of that warm bread. If a Turkish restaurant offering meze got hummus wrong then I might as well of just walked out there and then but I can safely say they know their stuff.

Moving on to this next dish known as Cacik. To me it's essentially just like a Turkish tzatziki. This yogurt based dip made with cucumber, garlic and mint and then drizzled lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with dill just screams classic meze. Once again this was great accompaniment to the warm bread and I was surprised to find myself enjoying it as much as I did considering I'm not really a fan of these kinds of dips. I think it was because the balance of cucumber to yogurt was just right so the flavor of the cucumber wasn't too strong which would put me off normally. 

Next up on our adventure through Turkish meze was this aubergine based dip which I think is called a Zeytin Yagli Bakla. This cold meze was so fresh and slightly chilled it had almost a slight palette cleansing quality to it which I think is down mostly to the fresh tomatoes and peppers which are blended together with the aubergine. It was yummy and one I'm going to try and recreate at home. The picture here might not be the best but trust me when I say that when it comes to taste, it two thumbs up from me! If your a fan of a good old Baba Ghanoush then you should one hundred percent give this meze a try and I promise you will not be disappointed.

Enginar is the name given to the next of our selection of starters. Enginar is a dish consisting of an artichoke heart served whole alongside carrots, potatoes and peas and just lightly coated in olive oil. This was the first meze that wasn't dippy but it was not left out in the tasty department. By just being tossed with the oil and veg it's the artichoke heart that reminds the star of the show and whose flavor is the one that bursts into your mouth when you take your first bite. It's not going to win over any artichoke haters out there but if you a fan of these bad boys in the same way as I am, you'll love this!

My favorite of all the starters was the Kisir. This bulgar wheat based dip was so amazing that I fell in love at first taste. The bulgar wheat is tossed in a dill, mint and some other miscellaneous herb infused tomato sauce along with some crushed hazelnuts and walnuts and its this combination or earthy nuttiness with the fresh tomatoes and herb that is truly wonderful. I can honestly say I have tasted anything like it before, it's so unique and moreish. A bowl of this to myself for the night with a mountain of bread would of kept me happy all night. Make sure you get some of you come down for a visit.

There was also stuffed vine leaves on offer but to be honest I'm not a fan of them, never have been and never will but this isn't Tas Pide's fault. Let's skip over them and head on over to mains. Now I mentioned that we were enjoying  a set menu however I should point out that Jon requested a different meal for his main than what was offered on the list as he wanted to try one of the vegetarian Pide's. Our server was happy to meet this request with the minimal amount of fuss. Plus points should always go to a team willing to be flexible to meet the customers needs so I commend them for being so helpful!

So I've mentioned the pide (that's P-day) and here it is. I would describe it as a cross between a flatbread and a pizza with a smidge of calzone about it in the way the edges fold back on itself slightly. The bread was cooked to perfection and had a delightfully crisp texture to it. The filling was a mixture of feta cheese and fresh tomato combined with mint and leeks to create this vibrant and popping combination of vegetables that sang from the plate and danced around the mouth. For the pide to be the namesake of the restaurant it had to be good and by golly it was. Worth the price of admission alone!

My main went to the only meat that was on the table that evening however something I didn't expect happened. This Ispanakli Tavuk was a dish of grilled chicken breast which, don't get me wrong was cooked well and tasted yummy but for me it was the side consisting of a medley of spinach, leeks, peppers, onions in a light tomato sauce that stole the show. It had a silky butteriness to it and all the different components were cooked so well that the whole thing just melted in the mouth. For me, it was this aspect of the meal that was the standout of the evening and goes to show that you should never underestimate the power of the veggies!

 By now we were seriously on the verge of exploding with all the food that had been consumed but we still had dessert to contend with. There was a couple of amazing sounding items on the dessert menu that we could of gone for but Jon did the sensible thing and just went for a light pudding of cherry compote with ice cream. The cherries were super plump and juicy having been soaked in the delicious syrup they came served with and the creamy ice cream on top tied it all together in a delicate little package. Light and palette cleansing, it was the perfect way to round off a large meal.

Myself on the other hand, well I can never resist the offer to try a cake and with carrot cake being one of my favorites it was really a no brainer that this was what I was going to go for. When it arrived at the table I didn't want to touch it, it looked so pretty. The moist cake sat proudly on top of swirls of sticky and sweet honey whilst it sat underneath a blanket of yogurt and crunchy little raisins. If you don't have a sweet tooth you should avoid this like the plague but for lovers of sugar such as me, well I was in heaven. I plowed through it, struggling to eat every last bit but it was really too good to leave any behind.

With pudding out the way it was time to roll out the door and head back to our hotel for a well deserved lie down. Tas Pide caught our eye as we walked around the Bankside and our visit was as good as we wished for it too be. We are both big fan's of Turkish cuisine and it was great to enjoy such a wide variety of dishes from the area in such a vibrant atmosphere and for an affordable price. I'll defiantly be back for another feast! For a totally terrific taste of Turkey, Tas Pide is the place to be.

To find out more about Tas Pide and the Tas restaurant group and to book a table check out their website here!

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