Forget the fact that Peterborough’s new Turkish restaurant is on Lincoln Road, Millfield; forget the location, at a busy set of traffic lights; and forget the fact that at times parking can be a lottery.
I say simply because the food served up to us on Sunday afternoon is quite unforgettable.
I don’t mind admitting to misgivings about the location, but as it turned out we got parked on The Triangle - and as close as you will get to any city centre restaurant you care to name.
It is the former Old Locomotive pub, which closed years ago,but the revamped restaurant gives few clues to its former self.
The exterior is inviting with a bold sign - if you can see past the traffic lights - and the interior looks fantastic - mosaic walls, neat tiled floor, quality furnishings and a little authentic music piped out in the background.
What I really liked though was the open kitchen as you walk in with the chef working away over the hot coals.
It was also quite busy with a number of family groups, which is always a good sign.
The menu offers authentic Turkish cuisine – hot and cold meze, a host of grilled meat, fish dishes, salads and more.
The lunchtime offer (£9.90) I had enjoyed previously - so would it be a one-off? Absolutely not.
A basket of fresh turkish bread accompanied a plate of cold meze - a straightforward humus, a real fishy tarama, lovely minty cacic ( with more than a hint of garlic and cucumber) and a light couscous . Delightful.
The mixed grill, on a bed of rice, with more Turkish bread, was of the same high standard. The chicken and lamb were moist with great flavours and the kofte, beautifully seasoned lamb mince blended with herbs - almost like meatballs done on a skewer - were the highlight of the meal.
After that, I felt guilty that I couldn’t manage the Mediterranean salad -layers of peppery rocket, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and feta cheese.
A little fresh fruit and a sweet little baklava, I could manage though.
Donna went with the main menu and an incredible hot meze platter.
Nicely cooked calamari proved a good starting point.
Admittedly the falafel - a favourite as well - were a little dry, but the lightly battered, deep fried mussels were succulent, as were the similarly cooked king prawns. The feta cheese-filled filo pastries were light and soft, the grilled hellim cheese was scrumptious, and the diced lamb’s liver with onions and spices an unexpected treat. Last but not least, the stuffed aubergine - tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and herbs - at the heart of it all - was packed with flavour.
Throw in great, informative and friendly service, it’s no wonder we can’t wait to go back again.
VENUE: Efes, 583 Lincoln Road, Peterborough 01733 347501 www.efespeterborough.com
Brad’s rating: 9