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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Salvador does Shoreditch

Today we went to see our very good friends down by Broadway Market in East London, and their beautiful new arrival, Salvador. He was so keen to meet his awesome parents that he arrived 7 weeks early! He's 3 months old now and fighting fit  - and happy to show us round his hood. 
We hopped on the overground at Highbury & Islington to Haggerston station and wandered down the canal. We had a rather nasty incident where an aggressive, slightly heroine-addicted cyclist told Tomasz to f**k off and said he could "stab him" which wasn't great... on the plus side the locks were very pretty. It reminded me of Chester where I am from originally (the canal, not the stab threat).
I bought this lovely shirt for Tomasz last weekend from French Connection - he's quite picky with his clothes, but this one is obviously a winner! It's a really soft linen with subtle stripes so good for day time too. 

It got quite busy down there - people were huddled in groups chatting and drinking, making the most of the sun and sitting on the pavement.  All very relaxed, but über trendy (typical of the Shoreditch lot). 

Mama and baby 

After a few strawberry ciders (my new favourite thing!) we decided to grab some food at a local Turkish restaurant. Meryem is Kurdish, so was chatting away to the waiters (she and her husband Paulo grew up in Amsterdam, but he is originally from Chile, and they now live and work here and are fluent in English (few!), so little Salvador is going to grow up speaking four languages. How cool is that??)

The restaurant we went to is called Ephesus. It's quite small and intimate and very relaxed, so great for stopping in for a bite after some drinks. They were very friendly and funny staff - and the food was really tasty. I probably wouldn't come here just for this place as it's not got that extra wow factor for a special occasion, but if I was in the area again I would definitely come back. I'd say it's more suitable for lunch with the girls rather than a place to go all dressed up for the whole evening, but it's a place you can easily spend a pleasant few hours.  

Salvador enjoying his dinner
Meryem introduced me to a speciality in Turkey called Şalgam (literally translated is "turnip"), a fermented juice made from red carrot pickles which is extremely salty and designed specially to quench thirst when it is hot. I wouldn't say it's my cup of tea (or strawberry cider) on a sunny day, as it tastes like a thicker version of the liquid gherkins come in...bizarre. But the colour is a stunning ruby red, and you could be forgiven for thinking it's sweeter than it is before you drink it, so be careful next time you are in Turkey.  

The food was simple, but fresh, flavoursome and reasonably priced (£20 per head for starter, main and drinks). Our hot mixed meze came loaded with deep fried cheese, calamari, courgette fritters, spinach and lentil croquettes, spicy beef patties, chicken skewers and cheesy filo pastry rolls. 
My main was a succulent marinaded lamb skewer, served with rice, green chillies and bread. It's not complicated food, but the use of herbs and spices makes it so exciting for me. It's the sort of stuff we just don't have in English cooking - don't get me wrong, I love British Pub food, but Turkish cuisine is so packed with such a large variety of different influences from centuries of history that it just shows in the flavour and power of some of the recipes. 

Our bill came in this dinky little wooden box - cute eh?

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