Please note, this branch of Antepliler is now closed. Time Out Food & Drink Editors, May 2017.
There are two very different Anteplilers in north London. The Green Lanes branch is a straightforward, functional canteen, but this time we visited the Upper Street restaurant, which feels like it’s been lifted straight out of a lifestyle magazine. Blue neon mosaics on a black background, making the venue resemble an Ottoman-themed nightclub, are an acquired taste. Thankfully there’s nothing showy about the food, some of which originates in Gaziantep province, near the border with Syria. One south-eastern dish we haven’t seen elsewhere in London was a highlight: cig köfte combines raw lamb with bulgar wheat, chilli, garlic and parsley to fantastic effect. The vegetarian version of the dish made with lentils was almost as good, and we scooped up both with wonderfully light, puffy flatbread. We also loved Antepliler’s houmous: thick, creamy and enhanced by a sprinkling of sumac. Ali nazak, a main course of diced lamb with yoghurt and mashed smoked aubergine, had been correctly prepared, but we found the combination overwhelmingly rich. Lamb adana kebab, another recipe from Turkey’s south-east, was simple, well-proportioned and skilfully executed. The wine list is short and fairly predictable, but service is charming and the pre-theatre menu is an excellent deal. Impressive.