As I may have mentioned previously, I am on a mission to try a plethora of cuisines and restaurants to share with you what’s good and not so good out there.
So it’s the turn of Turkish, with Tas restaurant in London. Now I love Lebanese food, and I figured that Turkish cuisine was a similar, albeit less flavoursome version. And I’m not far off in my assumption.
Tas is located in Southwark, not far from the famous Old Vic theatre. The restaurant is always busy, so we were glad to get a seat straight away. Another advantage of tas for me is that it is halal, so my options weren’t restricted to veg or fish.
Tas Turkish restaurant review – here’s what we had:
Filo pastry filled with mushrooms, kashar cheese and oak smoked beef
Chicken casserole with mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, ginger and coriander
Minced lamb and fine bulgur wheat patties, cooked with chickpeas, baby potatoes, carrots and dried red basil
Tas always treats you to complementary bread, humus and olives. Perhaps because I was starving, I found the humus amazing, with its fresh parsley infusion, a favoured herb in Turkish cuisine. The olives were also juicy and flavoursome (no tinned goods here) and the focaccia bread was freshly baked.
The mezze of beef and mushroom pastry – much like a samosa – with a tabouleh garnish was delicious. You could taste the meat and mushroom in different bites.
We opted for two different casserole mains after getting food envy (or inspiration) from the diners next to us. One was chicken with mushrooms in a tomato sauce and the other was a cracked wheat and beef mince meatball with chickpeas and other veg.
However, unfortunately, I felt that the mains looked much more flavoursome than they actually tasted.
I’m not sure if it’s my curry-infused asbestos tongue, but while it looked very tomato-ey, I didn’t get a strong taste of it in the food. Now I’m not saying everything has to be spicy, but Lebanese cuisine has strong pickled salads and lemon-laden meats, but I couldn’t pick up any distinct flavours from either dish. As a result, I could only really taste the meat, though the meatballs were more cracked wheat than beef. Overall, the mains did taste, dare a say, a bit bland.
However, this is typical of Turkish cuisine where the meats are high quality but the flavours are lighter. I just felt that they were slightly too delicate for my liking.
I’ve been to Tas before, however, I opted for shared mezzes, which I now believe is the way to go. I would go again, but I would stick to the starter section and get some of their yoghurts, dips and salads.
With a mix of mezzes you get an infusion of flavours, and I firmly believe that starters are what Turkish cuisine excels at.
Tas Turkish restaurant review in a nutshell
Cost – Hot and cold mezzes and salads between £4 – £6. Vegetarian main dishes are around £8, meat and grills between £8 – £13. Complimentary humous, olives and focaccia bread provided to start.
Halal – Yes. Tas also boasts a very impressive vegetarian menu.
Great if… you want to try a variety of flavourful mezzes and if you’re not a fan of strongly flavoured food.
Not so great if… You like your food spicy or strongly flavoured. Also not great if you’re not a fan of mezzes.