My favourite London restaurant has closed after almost 50 years 😦
The Efes restaurant in Gt.Titchfield St. was famous for the atmosphere, the clientele ( right next to the BBC’s Langham Place building) the friendly staff, the food, the service and the theatre of it all.
One of their best sellers was the ‘Three Fillet Meze’, the three fillets of meat from the grill were preceded by mixed dips on a huge platter centred around a prawn cocktail, all served with hot pitta bread, then a plate of pan fried liver was served finally followed by the three fillets along with slices of hot donner kebab and then the whole meal was ended with a huge platter of hand-trimmed fruit pieces around a hollowed out pineapple with a night light candle in it and also sporting a couple of lit sparklers. Did I mention the theatre? Sometimes people clapped!
The amazing thing is that this feast cost just £18 a head! Unbelievable value for London!
So here follows a list of easy to do dips and nibbles to recreate Efes at home.
Stuff you can buy from most supermarkets to go with hot pitta bread:
Taramasalata ( smoked cod roe and bread dip)
Houmous, in various varieties ( Crushed chick peas, oil and crushed sesame seed paste)
Tzatziki, Cucumber chunks in yoghurt
Babaganoush mashed aubergine and oil.
Pickle chillies in vinegar and brine.
Hot or sweet pickled red peppers in jars, some stuffed with soft cheese.
Olives in brine, oil or fresh packets
Carrot sticks and other vegetable ‘crudites’
Marinated fresh anchovies
Tabouleh and bulghur wheat salads.
Beetroot and feta cheese puree.
Don’t forget the pitta bread!
Haloumi cheese, cheese for slicing and grilling (or frying, perhaps add some black pepper and mixed herbs)
Feta cheese for salads( buy real Greek stuff for better quality)
Jars or tins of Dolmades( rice wrapped in vine leaves)
Jars or tins of giant beans in a tomato sauce
Jars or tins of meat balls in a tomato sauce
Louganika red wine sausage. I just can’t find this in Surrey so I buy chipolatas and put them in a little plastic bag with some red wine after puncturing them a hundred times with a cocktail stick…the meat soaks up the red wine.
Padron peppers, sear in a dry frying pan to blister, add a drizzle of olive oil and shake around to coat, finish with a drizzle of runny honey and serve.
Patatas bravas Boil little new potatoes, drain and cover with a little tomato ketchup with a dab of tomato puree and a dash of chilli sauce.
Chorizo in red wine. Dry fry sliced chorizo until the fat renders and the meat takes on a little dark colour. Splash over a little red wine and reduce to a syrup before serving.
Prawns in garlic oil. Add a big glug olive oil to a frying pan , add thawed cooked frozen little prawns and thinly sliced fresh garlic cloves. When warmed through serve with crusty dry bread to mop up the oil and prawns with…..
All of the above hot Spanish tapes dishes can be done ahead of time, placed in terracotta bowls and refrigerated until needed. Then just warm gently in a microwave just before serving them…or serve cold on a hot day?
Labna Mix together equal portions of Philadelphia cheese and plain yoghurt. Use as a dip with pitta bread.
Falafel. Chick pea rissoles. Buy a packet and follow the instructions. Try and shape the little rissoles like baby lemons for authenticity
Kofte. Roll lamb mince, mixed with ground cumin, ground coriander and dried mint into little balls and gently fry.
Tahini paste, slightly bitter paste made of ground sesame seeds…use in dips like houmous.
Jars of pickled chillies and peppers
Jars of pickled mushrooms
Jars of pickled vegetables..the Polish stuff is just right and very cheap to buy.
Jars of grilled peppers in oil
Jars of sun dried tomatoes in oil
Sardines and potato mashed together…a sort of Cornwall taramasalata
Diced pickled beetroot and salad cream
Diced hard boiled egg and vinegary mayonnaise
Mashed baked beans with a dash of chilli sauce