Tas Pide

Tel: +44 (0)20 7928 3300
Address: 20-22 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DR
Cuisine Type: Anatolian (Turkish)
Website: www.tasrestaurants.co.uk
nearest tube station Southwark, London Bridge

Wandering down to the South Bank on a warm evening we came across Tas Pide. Not being familar with the popular South London TAS group of restaurants we idly wondered if this was the one and only Tasmanian restaurant in London… But no, it’s Anatolian, in other words Turkish – but not just any old Turkish.

Tas Pide is the newest member of the group and takes its name from the ancient Anatolian dish made from dough shaped like a boat, and filled with fresh ingredients. The Anatolian version of a pizza I suppose, but probably a great deal healthier.

The restaurant itself is hugely welcoming. Carved wood, wonderful pale beams hung with an array of antique (or at least antique-looking) chandeliers, beautiful tiles and kilims and live guitar music all create a warm feeling in what could have been a rather barn-like space but instead is delightful. Along one wall is a bar-cum-serving area backed by vats and other curiosities, and the helpful (and very attentive) waiters bustle to and fro to good effect.

Not having gone to Tas Pide with the intention of reviewing, we didn’t sample the full delights of the menu (we’ll obviously have to go back for that). But the complimentary soup while we browsed the menu was excellent (Tarhana, with a blend of yoghurt, cracked wheat and tomatoes) and was accompanied by delicious breads, olives and humus.

There is a huge choice of pide (£5.45 – £7.25), ranging from the completely vegetarian Pirasali with leeks, green lentils, potatoes, raisins, fresh tomatoes and red basil to the hearty Sucuklu with garlic sausages, parsley, red and green peppers and mushrooms, with or without an egg on top. Kiymali is perhaps more traditional with minced lamb, onions, tomatoes, parsley and red pepper – quite delcious. As long as you aren’t feeling precious, you can eat them the authentic way – with your fingers – as they come cut into thick slices. They are fantastic value – unless you are really hungry, one pide is a meal in itself – and the ingredients are so fresh that you can taste every one.

This restaurant is a haven for vegetarians, incidentally – there are eight veggie main courses (£6.95 – £7.25) all of which sounded fascinating, before you even get to the salad option. How about Patlican Dolmasi – sun-dried aubergines stuffed with fresh mint, leeks and herbs with bulgar wheat.

Plenty of meat dishes too though at around £8, and salads (£3.25 – £3.95) are also tempting and unusual – for example Findikli Nareksili: hazlenut, lettuce and pomegranate juice.

The whole menu is good value but there are also four set menus (with choice within each) starting from meze at £7.25 per person and two courses at a stunning £7.45. The wine list ranges between old and new worlds (including Turkey for the house wine at £11.25) and is well priced, with the top-price red (a Barolo) at £23.50.

Definitely a place that needs a more thorough review. Preferably soon. We didn’t even touch on the puddings, which also sounded excellent (as was the Turkish Delight, I am reliably informed). Now how’s the diary looking…?

– Helen Wright, 9/2003