Turkish Eggs at Kopapa

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Until recently, I’ve really not been one for big, complicated breakfasts. I’ve standardly eaten a bowl of cereal, though recently branched out into porridge with banana since discovering the ease-of-cooking with a microwave at work. Yum. But, then, breakfasts became ‘in’, what with The Breakfast Club and all. I even starting meeting a policeman friend for breakfast, because early mornings seemed to be the only times we could coordinate to meet. And it was with him, before setting off on a group holiday in Wales, that I ate Kopapa’s Turkish Eggs.

“[I]t feels like this is a power-breakfast, that will propel you through the day with a smile”

First things first. ‘Hot chilli butter’ (on top of the poached eggs and whipped yoghurt) – that’s not going to be in solid form. But it’s only when said friend points out that that’s what this clear, reddish liquid drenched all over must be that I realise quite what an all food groups (fat, fat and fat) meal this is! To be honest this is a surprising revelation, because the dish is both fresh and light. It’s hugely flavoursome, with the chilli marking a (gentle) punch-in-your-face wake-up to go with the more traditionally breakfasty eggs. The yoghurt, fluffy and light, ensures a tangy bedrock for the dish, which rewards delving-deeply with your spoon.

I’ll admit, I was glad of bitter coffee to cut through what could (especially if rendered by a less sure hand) have ended up a cloying mess of a dish. Instead, it works well, with a side of sourdough toast giving a wholesome feel to what is supposedly the most important meal of the day.

I fear this review rather unreasonably focuses on the calorific aspects of what would be a treat of a start-to-the-day (if only for the cost), and everyone knows that calories before midday don’t count (NB: this may not be a view endorsed by the medical profession). In fact, it feels like this is a power-breakfast, that will propel you through the day with a smile on your face and a smug feeling of having explored the world’s culinary boundaries before you’re out of your (proverbial) pyjamas.

It powered me to Wales, at least.

Kebabs at Antepliler

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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 cafés 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.