Authentic Turkish food on your doorstep

Christina Mannion tucks into sumptious Turkish cuisine in the heart of Caledonian Road

Topkapi Palace

Caledonian Road, N1

020 7609 2138

BEING no stranger to the delight of Turkish food - having visited Turkey a number of times - I was delighted to find Topkapi Palace, located in the heart of Caledonian Road, so much more than the takeaway kebab shop you would usually expect to find.

I had escaped the hustle and bustle of the Cally and found myself in one of very few sit down Turkish eateries in the area.

As we entered the modern, attractive restaurant one could not help but notice the immaculate open kitchen, with the chef preparing fresh pastry and cooking kebabs on the charcoal grill in front you. We were welcomed by friendly faces and promptly shown to our table where we were accompanied with complimentary olives, home made bread and a menu that had a multitude of choices; definitely something for everyone.

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I decided to go for the calamari for starters as this is one of my favourite dishes. I wasn’t disappointed as the calamari was so flavoursome and cooked to perfection. My partner opted for the traditional Turkish hellim and falafel, a truly scrumptious choice by the two of us.

For the main course I opted for Iskender layers of lamb and chicken cutlets with a tomato source and melted butter drizzled with yogurt. The meat was cooked to perfection and the sauce that accompanied it was bursting with flavour. My partner went for the Testi kebab, which was equally as good and consisted of diced lamb, garlic mushrooms and tomato and pepper cooked in a pitcher jug. Both mains were generously portioned and we were both pleasantly full.

After our meal we were offered the brand new shishas that had just been delivered from Turkey. However as you have to sit outside to smoke them, I did not try this - it was a little too cold for me. But when it starts getting a little warmer this would be something I would certainly try.

The owner Kemal Tuzen came over to check everything was ok with the food, and it was clear he is very proud of his family owned restaurant and of the delicious food that was being served.

Kemal told us he has been in the restaurant industry for more than 17 years. He has been head chef and worked in a number of top restaurants including NFT, Sodexo and Compass. With his excellent catering background Mr Tuzen decided to open his very own Authentic Turkish Cuisine a year ago in the centre of Caledonian Road.

As well as dining in, you can also enjoy this scrumptious cuisine in the comfort of your own home, as they offer an online and telephone takeaway ordering system for collection. Additionally, this delightful restaurant offers private hire and outside catering service for all occasions.

As I was leaving the restaurant I noticed there was a sign on the window that customers are allowed to bring their own wine, which surprised me as the selection of wine and beers they had to offer was extensive and really reasonable. I think this is a fantastic idea as everyone enjoys a glass of wine with their meal, but we all know how much this can bump the bill up - especially after spending all our earnings on Christmas presents or January sales.

This is an ideal spot to meet your friends for that catch up you have been talking about way before Christmas. Thumbs up from me for Topkapi Palace. The service was timely and outstanding and the food was extremely fresh and flavoursome. Definitely worth a visit.

– CHRISTINA MANNION

Mains: from �7 to �10.50

Wines: from �3.50 to �4.50 a glass

Children welcome: Yes

Disabled access: No

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