Dining out at Istanbul Turkish BBQ Restaurant, Southend
PUBLISHED: 13:06 24 October 2016 | UPDATED: 13:06 24 October 2016
Turkish cuisine seems to be springing up all over our county, so this month I was able to enjoy a taste of Istanbul in Southend.
The restaurant we visited is the smaller of two which are part of the same chain within a few minutes of each other. Parking is available across the road in the public car park and after 6pm it’s free.
If a Turkish menu is daunting for your first visit they helpfully offer a set menu for either two or four people which is £34.95 or £69.95 respectively. Or you can choose your own dishes from a selection of hot or cold meze plates and kebabs.
There are also four vegetarian dishes including falafel and vegetables on a diced bread with Hellim cheese topped with yoghurt and tomato sauce then baked in clay, plus another four seafood dishes.
Our set menu began with six separate dishes of cold meze including saksuka (fried aubergine with tomatoes, potato, peppers and garlic in a tomato sauce), cali fasulye, green French beans with carrots, onions and tomatoes in olive oil, and humus. These were served with slices of warm pitta bread and each dish had plenty of flavour without overpowering each other.
While eating we watched the various meats and kebabs being chargrilled on the huge grill at the front of the restaurant. Although not large, the restaurant transports you to the Mediterranean with a combination of the tastes and styles of traditional Turkish life. Main course is for the ravenous carnivores.
Lamb and chicken shish kebabs plus kofte kebabs, chicken wings, lamb ribs and lamb chops were served on a bed of rice with chargrilled peppers and baby tomatoes. Garlic and chilli dips were provided to accompany our meal. A nice touch was being presented with complimentary Turkish tea and coffee plus a dessert of baklava with ice cream and cream.
Useful to know
The total bill came to £42.95 for three courses and drinks. The restaurant doesn’t take card payments. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.
Table Talk with… Diner Terry Williams and his friends.
Where do you live and what do you do? I live in Shoeburyness and I’m a sales manager for a home improvement company, and I also teach yoga.
What did you choose from the menu? I started with whitebait and then the seabass. I don’t eat meat but they do fish very well.
Why were you at Istanbul? Friends we were going out with suggested going there.
Describe your dining experience in a phrase: The host was very friendly and very kind. It’s a very casual and informal restaurant and a great place to go in a group.
How would you rate their value for money? Not expensive, for six of us our food and drinks came to under £160, so I don’t think that’s excessive.
Worth visiting again? Yes I would.
What was the best part of your visit? I compared the food to my recent trip to Greece and the fish was every bit as good. Plus the company I was with. It’s quite a relaxed atmosphere, so you can go along and chill out with your friends.
Book a table
Istanbul Turkish BBQ Restaurant
34 York Road