I never normally go in for food or restaurant reviews, I just don’t think there’s much point in them. I don’t like to make a judgement on food unless it’s been in my own mouth and I sometimes find it presumptuous when people tell me what I should eat but there’s times I guess we all have a dining experience we just have to share. With my boyfriend living on Lark Lane in Liverpool I’ve got cuisine from every continent on the doorstep and it’s always hard to choose where to go. I often find myself craving a steak or a Chinese or an Indian but I’ve never sat and thought ooooh I just fancy a Turkish, but after today’s lunch I think that urge is going to come around again and again.
Narrow minded of me I know, but I’ve always said to Matt when he’s suggested going to Elif’s “no way am I paying restaurant prices for a glorified kebab”, how wrong I was. Today we went for a wander up and down the lane to decide where to stop for lunch and fancying a break from our usual places we popped into some new ones and looked at some lunch menus. As expensive as Lark Lane can often be there are some great offers around, especially at lunch time. I caved in on my prejudice and we decided to try the two course lunch menu for £8.95.
My fears were quickly laid to rest as there isn’t a kebab in sight on the lunch menu and also some things I’m familiar with which was comforting. I went for the Dolma to start, which is vine leaves stuffed with minted rice and Matt had the Sucuk; a spicy Turkish sausage. I’ve had Dolma before and always enjoyed it but the flavour of this dish was beautiful, it can sometimes be accused of being a bland dish but not this one. The sausage was nice, a lot like chorizo but less fatty but what absolutely stole the show was the complimentary bread. I think unless you’re another bread person you’ll find it weird for me to say that I am a massive bread person. To most people bread is just bread, but to a bread person it’s a gateway to a million flavours (seriously, I really really love bread). My point was anyway that the bread in there was amazing!
For our mains I had Izgara Kofte which is BBQ char-grilled meatballs with a tomato and garlic sauce. Thanks to Subway everybody thinks they love meatballs but real good “just like your momma used to make them” meatballs are hard to come by, and here I am accidentally coming across them in a little restaurant on Lark Lane. So so good! Matt decided on Kuzu Guvee with lamb, it’s kind of like a tagine or spiced tomato lamb stew. We ended up going half and half because I wanted his as much as my meatballs! Everything was served with some really well cooked rice, not the watery long grain rice we’re all used to it was more like pearl barley and was so tasty. It also came with chargrilled onions in a red wine vinegar and a huge salad. Obviously I’d asked them to leave the bread that was left from our starters and we were given some lovely garlic dip to go with it. It was one of those meals where every individual part was beautiful in its own way and we really didn’t know where to start or where to stick our forks next. The only thing I can say is that I wish they’d taken my plate away as soon as I stopped eating because even though I was stuffed full I couldn’t stop picking at it.
Aside from the food the service was impeccable, the open kitchen is a real good touch and the music makes for a really chilled out atmosphere. They also give you some amazing Turkish Delight with your bill, I’ve always loved Turkish Delight but I’ve never had it with pistachio nuts inside and it really takes the edge off the sweetness.
For £17.90 for two courses each you couldn’t argue if the food was average and the service passable but for food this good it’s an absolute steal. I’ll definitely be heading back to try the evening menu and am fully converted to Turkish as a top cuisine and Elif’s as a top restaurant.