Kebabs at Antepliler

image

Time Out equivocated quite badly at Antepliler. Their chosen dish – ‘kebabs’ – identifies a number of different offerings at this upmarket Turkish restaurant, right opposite Ottolenghi on Upper street. Judging by the two kebab dishes Rachael and I ate, I’m pretty sure every one would be superb, and I wouldn’t complain about having to work my way through the full kebab section of the menu.

“I’d definitely take my parents here, and I’m sure they’d enjoy the pixel-perfect cooking with top-notch ingredients in a relaxing and cosy environment”

Getting the best of both worlds, we shared lamb kebab dishes – one with shallots in a pomegranate syrup, and another on a bed of spicy tomato sauce. Both were succulent and full-flavoured, but also very distinct with individual attractions. The shallots and pomegranate offered a homely, rich, oniony stew, with tart flavours balanced by sweet fruitiness. The tomato version could almost be an Italian dish, matching the straightforward meaty punch of the lamb with a tomato sauce with a warming chilli heat that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tuscan meatball braise.

Despite the ‘variations on a theme’ nature of the kebab offer, they do change the menu relatively regularly, which shows an awareness that they’ll probably tempt people back, and an admirable refusal to rest on their laurels. The food is delicious, and clearly the work of a chef who’s still enjoying experimenting, and sharing his creations with the restaurant’s lucky patrons.

The venue itself is a breath of fresh air – a Turkish place not afraid to shy aware from hookahs-and-accoutrements, rustic weaving and landscape photos (sorry, a stereotype I know, but there do seem to be endless London Turkish caf├ęs that match the description). I’d definitely take my parents here, and I’m sure they’d enjoy the pixel-perfect cooking with top-notch ingredients in a relaxing and cosy environment. One to return to.

Cinnamon Bun at Nordic Bakery

image

The first two things to say about the Nordic Bakery’s cinnamon buns are superficial: firstly, they’re enormous and, secondly, they’re not in your average ‘swirl’ shape, but have more of a pain au chocolat appearance.

The first bite of these treats hits you, initially with its treacly, uber-sweet blast, and then with a warmth pungent with spices, not just cinnamon – arguably not even mainly cinnamon – but instead with cloves and nutmeg and maybe cardamom. You know after this single mouthful that this isn’t your average cinnamon bun.

“So is this haute cuisine?”

The amount of glucose packed into one of these cakes makes them chewy, and stick in your teeth. I’m not convinced I find this especially pleasant, and they could definitely have eased off on the sugar to my taste. The mix of spices certainly make the bun a bit different, and a distinct change from a plain old cinnamon bun, which has an attractive simplicity but also an ‘easy’ nice taste that is more pop music than Beethoven.

So is this haute cuisine? Well it isn’t clear that the mix of flavours is straightforwardly pleasant. There’s a complexity that I’m not sure quite works. I guess ‘challenging flavours’, like ‘challenging music’ make for variety, but I wouldn’t rush back for this as a reward…

86/100 top London dishes according to Time Out.