I normally don’t bother to put the address of restaurants in my reviews but I’ll make an exception here as, quite frankly, it is important that you go to Antepliler or Green Lanes for a Turkish ethnic adventure. It is to be found up in Green Lanes at 46 Grand Parade, Green Lanes, N4 1AG.
Bloggers normally travel in packs. There are several reasons for this one. One is that they generally love food so they are excited to try the newest place. The second is that PR companies increasingly use them to do their work for them so when you read 15 reviews of the same restaurant the chances are that a bunch of bloggers were invited to the opening. Antepliler doesn’t need to be bother which such distractions for the simple reason that it is cheap and very good.
First a quick tip on how to get there. When my friend Sam first gave me a nod and said he would take me to a proper Turkish restaurant after I mentioned my love of the Mangal Ocakbasi (now thoroughly “past it” on Arcola Street off Kingsland Road) our journey was epic. Buses, walking, probably a train, a hike through the rainforest, some google maps on the iPhone and a rickshaw to cap it off. Now I just get the 141 bus from Moorgate straight there.
Green Lanes is another world. One where the dominant language is Turkish and like New Malden (here) this does wondrous things for the food. To start you have to get the lahmacun – a mince based pizza – that Antepliler churns out in industrial qualities. You can either put vegetables in the centre, squeeze some lemon juice and eat it as a roll, go straight up on it or dunk it in some hummus. All work. For me it is pretty much the only proper world class pizza you can get in London.
Then comes the hummus. The variety above is topped with extra lamb which although delicious is thoroughly unneeded as Turkish mains are all about grilled lamb. The next day our pores were still leaking the smell of lamb (not altogether unattractive). We then experimented and deviated from our standard order by ordering a started of baked eggs. It was, to our palates, quite frankly awful. The cured spiced meat used in it was so unfamiliar and overwhelming to us that we couldn’t bear the smell or the taste. Though I do think our distaste for it was partly due to cultural differences (as in Americans just don’t understand the joy of Ribena).
However, the key to any Turkish restaurant is the grilled meat you get for mains. At Antepliler they do a lamb dish that comes with tomatoes which have been grilled till the taste of the charcoal is in them and then blended. It is magnificent (and the picture is below).
Antepliler is everything a restaurant should be and it is one of my favourite places in London. The quality and honesty of the food runs rings around many of the more favoured venues in London and make me love our diverse open city of London.
A couple of quick hints if you are already planning your trip up there. The service can be schizophrenic. Terrible one second, heartening the second. If you remember the prices you are paying and enjoy the odd food “adventure” you probably won’t mind. Second, go hungry. The portions are large, the flavours are strong and you should try as many things as you can. Third, I’ve eaten here a lot and on occasion the odd dish can fall flat. I generally overcome this by over-ordering massively. Finally, I am sure there are lots of other good restaurants on Green Lanes but having found Antepliler I am slightly afraid to try them. Going up to Green Lanes, having a meal which wasn’t as good as one at Antepliler and having to mournfully go back home would make me cry. If you come across anything else as good please let me know.
Price – £20 a head including beers, unnecessary extra courses and too much food to eat