Tel: +44 (0)20 8590 6805
Address: 1177 High Road, Chadwell Heath, RM6 4AL
Cuisine Type: Mediterranean
nearest tube station n/a

At first glance Bodrum looks like a normal takeaway kebab house but once inside you realise it’s very different. It’s an elegant, welcoming restaurant, with a small but friendly and attentive staff who do their utmost to look after you and make you feel special. Most people greet Yasmin, the waitress with a kiss…

The food is simply amazing. The chef has a very light touch with the oil, something you don’t often get in most Mediterranean restaurants. He only uses the freshest and highest quality ingredients, which shows in the vibrant tastes in the dishes.

We have tried almost everything over our visits. Of the starters (around £3.50), the taramasalata and tzatziki are the very best I have ever tasted and, being Greek, I have eaten a lot! I tried in vain to get the tarama recipe but was smilingly told it was a secret. There is a relish of chopped olives that zings on the tastebuds while the chargrilled halloumi cheese is smoky and cooked to perfection. Kalamari stays crisp on the outside and juicy in the middle, calves liver in olive oil, with a spicy coating, is to die for (and that’s from people who don’t like liver).

Main courses (£11) are very generous and piping hot: nothing lukewarm here. The sheer quality of the meat comes through and it needs only simple cooking – the chicken stuffed aubergine wafts you back to Turkey and the steaks remind you of what beef should taste like. T-bones! Hurrah!

We tried the chicken kofte – beautifully chargrilled – juicy and aromatic on the inside. The kleftico (do not have a starter!) is rich and just melts off the bone and yes, they let you take home what you can’t finish. Then we did a mixed charcoal grill, a little bit of everything – lamb, chicken, kofte and home made meatballs – that leaves you very happy indeed. Nothing is dry or overcooked and the flavours all complement one another. The salads are fresh and crunchy, the cheeses clean tasting and not over salted. The desserts, my friends assure me, are divine (usually under £5). So far I’ve never had room to try.

There’s a good range of red and white Turkish wines, plus all the usual Italian and French of course. The chardonnay and muscadet are both excellent and the prices range between £8 – £10 per bottle. I can’t recommend this place highly enough – wonderful food, lovely staff. Try it! The nearest station (a two minute walk away) is Chadwell Heath on the Liverpool Street – Shenfield line.

– Lisa Fienson, 11/2002