Gosh, it’s been about a month since I visited the Cafe Gallipolli Bazaar in Islington. I met a friend there, who in turn brought another friend and so we were three. It was my first time visiting it and I’d always meant to – that busy restaurant with its dark, mysterious interior and exotic furniture.

We ordered the Full Meze meal for 2 (£10 per person) and a single order of the mixed grill (around £10, I can’t fully recall). To drink, two of us chose the Turkish apple tea while the third chose the mint tea with pine nuts. The apple tea tasted a bit like hot apple juice… it wasn’t unpleasant!

Mint Tea with Pinenuts

A dozen or so little dishes appeared in front of us, along with the large plate of grilled meats – chicken, lamb, minced lamb koftes. A bread basket with small squares of a fluffy yet flat Turkish bread arrived at our table.

Assorted Meze

Of all the multiple little plates, the one major standout was the hummus: it was so smooth and creamy and I could have eaten the whole thing with lots of bread and that would have been my dinner. The worst item was the dolmades, which obviously came straight out of the refrigerator. The rice inside the grape leaves was cold and hard. Nothing else really stood out – there were broad beans with yogurt and deep fried lamb pastries and chicken in tomato sauce. All ok.

As for the mixed grill, the lamb was dry, the koftes weren’t too bad, and the chicken was very tasty and moist. The rice that accompanied it all was very nice, all grains separate and had a good flavour. Altogether, there was so much food that we couldn’t finish it all – the two Full Meze meals would have been enough to feed the three of us.

Assorted Meze

We got a nasty surprise when we got the bill – there was a £2 charge for each bread basket and we had worked our way through 2 of them! They weren’t ordered but had been dropped off at our table as if they were part of the meals.

If I were to return, it would be for the decor – it’s quite fun to sit on sofas with multiple cushions and eat in candlelight! The food, though, is average – I’ve yet to try an outstanding Turkish restaurant in London.

Cafe Gallipoli Bazaar
107 Upper Street
London N1 1QN

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