The Beyoglu

Tel: +44 (0)20 8731 7473
Address: 756 Finchley Road, Temple Fortune, London NW11 7TH
Cuisine Type: Turkish
nearest tube station Golders Green (NORTHERN)
Website: www.thebeyoglu.com

There are many fantastic restaurants buried like hidden treasure in London’s suburbia, and it is worth foraying outside Zone 1 to uncover them. The Beyoglu is one such gem, albeit a rough cut one, combining character, charming service and authentic Turkish cuisine with reasonable prices.

Interestingly decorated with Turkish ornaments, this small but comfortable restaurant has a light, airy feel, accentuated or marred by the sky-effect painted ceiling, depending on your artistic predilection. Moreover, this place is squeaky clean, from the spotless white tablecloths to the open plan kitchen (where you can watch the cooks grilling food over the genuine charcoal stove) to the toilets, which say more about a restaurant than they are generally given credit for.

The menu is long, perhaps overly so, featuring 27 starters and over 40 main courses (you can check this out on their website). Having said that, the menu does become repetitive: Pirzola, Kulbasti and Beyti comprised respectively grilled lamb chops / lamb steak / fillet of lamb seasoned with oregano, whilst several dishes come as both starters and main courses, such as Bamya (an okra “stew”) and Dolma (sundried aubergines stuffed with rice, onion, sultanas and tomato).

Although we were more familiar with many of the cold meze (humus, tarama, fava, kisir and tabbouleh), we opted to share a selection of hot starters, including Hellim Izgara (grilled chunks of salty Cypriot cheese), Sucuk Izgara (grilled spicy Turkish sausage), falafel with humus and Sigara boregi (feta and spinach filled pastries), all at £3. All were thoroughly enjoyable and, given the generous portions coupled with baskets of flat bread and pitta, served to fill us up even before we got to the main course.

Main courses, priced between £6 and £9 are, unsurprisingly biased towards lamb. The fillet of lamb in Beyti (£7) was tender, though a little plain, relying solely on the oregano seasoning. Hunkar Begendi (£7), known as “sultan’s delight”, was an unusual dish of lamb stew on a bed of aubergine sauce, but the flavours worked well together. My carnivorous brother chose the Beyoglu Mix Grill, a huge plate of lamb chops, lamb steak, fillet of lamb and a quail, grilled on charcoal, a true bargain at £8.50, (especially in light of the fact that he was too full for dinner in the evening and breakfast the next day….). From the vegetarian options, Imam Bayildi (£6) was an oven roasted aubergine stuffed with a rich stew of mushrooms, onion, pepper, celery and tomato.

Past the point of being comfortably full, sheer greed prompted us to order a dessert to share. Here, The Beyoglu failed the “proof is in the pudding” test. In contrast to the rest of the menu, there are only 3 desserts from which the baklava (£3) we tried was soggy. The wine list is also short (one each of staples such as Chardonnay, Chianti, Beaujolais etc as well as some interestingly named Turkish wines such as Buzbag and Yakut), but with most at under £10 a bottle you can’t complain.

We rounded off the meal with Turkish delight, tea and coffee on the house, and a resolution to revisit.

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