Tasting Turkish Treats

It must have been a good year since I had last tried Turkish food. For some reason, I had always had in my head that this cuisine was fairly meat heavy and therefore not really an ideal place for this little London foodie.

BUT, I’ll always admit when I’m wrong, and I was so wrong.

Inside Laz@Camden

I was invited down to the brand new Turkish restaurant, ‘Laz @ Camden’ and I was so incredibly impressed. Not only with their array of vegetarian options but also with the sheer quality of the food, the creativity and thought that had gone into the dishes, the atmosphere within the restaurant, the decor, the music, the staff and the entire experience. All of these factors combined to make this one of the best Turkish meals I’ve ever had.

First of all, I was impressed with the fact that they willingly cater to the clumsy. What I mean by this, of course, is that within the first five minutes (and within approximately two seconds of the below photo being snapped), I had spilled my entire cocktail onto my shirt. Which, if you know me, is really nothing out of the ordinary. However, the staff immediately brought me towels and (arguably more importantly) a brand new drink. For the fashionistas among you, don’t fear, the Zara shirt survived.

Moments before aforementioned cocktail disaster
New cocktails for this clumsy little London foodie

OK, I know that you know, as a reader of this blog that I have a big appetite but I seriously outdid myself on this occasion. Chris and I sort of, kind of, definitely ordered the whole menu. For research purposes, obvs.

We kicked things off by diving face first into the meze menu, enthusiastically ordering almost everything with a (V) next to it. I’ve listed them in order of how much I loved them (although, please note I enjoyed all of them):

Hellim (v) – Pan-fried hellim, honey, pomegranate, oregano dressing and nigella seeds

 

ALSO KNOWN AS: OH MY GOD, WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE? This dish was unreal. The texture of the hellim (aka halloumi) was absolute perfection and the contrast of the sweet honey and pomegranate was to die for. I was almost licking the bowl. You must order this if you go here!

 

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Hummus (v) with warm bread – Tomatoes, chick peas, parsley, urfa chilli and extra virgin olive oil

You knew it was coming… There is one thing that no one on this earth can deny and that is that Turkish people know how to make a damn good hummus. This was beautiful with the warm bread, just beautiful. Perfect texture, perfect flavour.

Warm Avocado (v) – Filled with sweet green & red peppers, porcini mushrooms, kasar cheese sauce

I was wary about this dish. There, I said it. As an avid avocado lover, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about its texture when it was warm. Well, I was wrong to doubt. It was delicious, especially topped with mushrooms and a creamy cheese sauce.

 

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Left: Potato Sufle (v) – Crispy potato skins, mature kasar cheese, herbs, sour cream and chive sauce

Look, there is nothing ground-breaking about putting cheese on potato skins with a sour cream and chive sauce but when it’s done right, it doesn’t need to be complex. It kind of felt like I was eating a jacket potato, topped with mash, that’s how creamy it was.

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Quinoa Tabule (v) – With feta cheese, pomegranate and walnuts

I could definitely appreciate the range of textures and flavours in this dish. I love a good cheese & pomegranate combo and whilst it was one of Chris’ favourites, those who know me well, know that I’m not a huge salad gal. However, still pretty delicious.

 

Patlıcan (v) – Chargrilled aubergine, green peppers, tomato sauce, strained yoghurt

I’m the world’s worst vegetarian and aubergine isn’t one of my most loved vegetables but aside from that, I thought this was a tad too creamy and took away from the tomato flavour slightly.

So, that was the end of our meze section (oh yes, that was just our starters) and from there, we went on to order one main each.
Balkabaklı Ravioli (v)
Pumpkin and herb ravioli, saffron sauce
I was super curious to see a ravioli dish on a Turkish menu, especially as it’s one of my favourite dishes in the world so I ordered that in a heartbeat and thought it was aaaaaabsolutely fab. It was rich, which I love, but there was just the right amount and the sharpness of the cheese was balanced perfectly with the creamy, subtle taste of pumpkin.
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Yuvalama (v)
Herbed cracked wheat dumplings, chickpeas, mint, tomato and Urfa chilli sauce
Chris opted for the wheat dumplings for his main but I’ll be honest, these didn’t rock my world. The texture was slightly too stodgy for me. However, the staff were talking about how much they loved them so perhaps it’s an acquired taste / texture and I need to give them a second chance.

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At this stage, it is absolutely outrageous that we are considering ordering dessert but we did, and we enjoyed it. Now, I know that this photograph isn’t winning any prizes but it’s surprisingly hard to capture a rice pudding in action. However, I will say that the photo really doesn’t do it justice and that I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. It’s a light and creamy rice pudding with a nice crunch on top!

Why not throw in another course, I hear you say! Well, that’s exactly what I did. I tried the traditional Turkish coffee which was really strong. I didn’t know if I would like it but I did. I would say it tasted like a cross between a strong coffee and a chocolate mousse. Delightful. Plus, it was served in the world’s cutest mug, with Turkish delight on the side. What’s not to like?!

At the end of the meal, the amazing and well respected chef Numan Devrim came upstairs to say hi, which was the perfect ending to a lovely evening. It’s important I mention that this restaurant also had a really great fish and meat menu too. Chris and I ate veggie but if you were going with a group and they’re not all veggie, they’d love it too.

I really loved everything about this place and would definitely recommend it for a dinner with friends or a romantic, candle-lit evening for two piggies who want to stuff their faces with delicious and perfectly executed food, just as we did!

TLLF x

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