What’s this? A post NOT on burgers. I know – I’m surprised too. Truth be told, this meal was such a nice change from the richness of American food I’ve been eating of late. It was such nice a change, we ate there twice in one week. If I’m being perfectly honest, I think I might be getting sick of burgers. Is this what growing up is like? During the week I was a tweet go out about a new burger place soon to be opening up and audibly sighed. I’m just not sure how room I have for yet another burger. I have my solid favourites – is there eve more room in my belly for yet another when I am still yet to try Tommi’s as well as Honest Burgers new Soho outpost? Maybe yes, but my out pouring if love for a nicely grilled patty, melted cheese, salad, and a squishy bun is not not as enthusiastic as it once was.
Moving on, Kilis Kitchen is a Turkish restaurant located on Therbeton St in Islington. Somewhat of a mystery place – when I tried to look it up on line, the website strangely did not load, and there was no trace of it on Urbanspoon. There was however entries for 2 other Turkish restaurants for the same address with different names. New owners? Who knows. All quite odd.
I didn’t think it possible, but I have actually outdone myself with poor photos. Kilis Kitchen is so dark, and as result have such shonky photos, and my lacklustre photoshopping skills have rendered these photos merely passable.
Kilis Kitchen is one of those restaurants that insists on a handful of menus per person. We’ve all been to those places. One for food, one for the specials, one for wine and yet another for cocktails. On the first visit, we ignore the cocktails (although at 5.95 each I suppose you could find worse elsewhere) and the specials. Glasses of Turkish red wine are at 3.75, an undeniable bargain. We opt for sharing a bunch of well – sharing plates and select 5 to share and are completely stuffed by the end of it. Unfortunately squirreled away at the back of the main food menu are dishes for people whom Turkish food is just too foreign. Spaghetti bolognaise, carbonara, fish and chips and the like are best stayed away from.
First up was lamb kofte which came with rice and salad. Maybe not as flavourful with herbs as I would have hoped, there were still no complaints from me.
The rest of our dishes came in flurry and we were inundated with now needing to take up 2 tables just to accomodate all our food. Kibbeh crumbled once cut into, but I mixed in the yoghurt on the side for ease of eating. The hummous topped with lamb was mopped up with chunks of Turkish bread. I actually think hummous and lamb at Yalla Yalla is probably better than the one at Kilis, but I was so happy to eating something that was so different to my usual meals, I really didn’t care. The calamari fritters were one of the dud dishes. Frozen calamari, no flavour and just quite bland.
Wanting something light, we ordered the prawn and avocado salad. It was essentially a 70’s prawn cocktail. Also one of the dud dishes for the night.
We decided to finish the meal with some cups of Turkish tea and baklava, both of which set the meal back on the right track. The tea was lovely and earthy in flavour, and to be honest, I’ve never met a pice of baklava I didn’t like.
We enjoyed our meal at Kilis Kitchen so much we headed back a week later for more. This time around we were seated at the back in a room that was essentially a greenhouse, next to a quite odd fountain that was non-functional.
This time around we went fot the set mezze option and absolute bargain at ten quid each. Once again all our dishes turned up at the same time, meaning we had to eat quickly to make room.
The cold mezze dishes arrived first. I’m not going to pretend as though I know the names for all of there, especially when I’m sure Istanbul resident Jess, at The Vegan Foodophile is probably reading this, tsk-ing her head at my haphazard guesses of what is in each dish. Clockwise from the top left, we have hummous, dolmades, a tomato based salad with sliced crunchy vegetables and a mixture of nuts, a cold vegetable mixture that was similar to ratatouille, cacik dip (I Googled the name of this one admittedly), and artichokes with some beans and carrots.
A basket of bread for dipping and swiping and a tabbouleh salad that had just the right amount of mint in it.
The plate of hot mezze comprised of fat slices of halloumi, chicken wings that were both crispy and juicy, kofte, and cheese burek – ricotta and spinach in filo pastry. Looked up the name of that one too!
The bill is presented in a wooden jewellery box which is quite a nice touch. The total bill for two including 2 glasses of wine? 27.80. Bargain!
I really liked Kilis Kitchen. Service was lovely, the traditional Turkish options are your best bet here and it is good value for money. Dishes come out quite quickly and not as spaced as I would prefer, but I suppose by turning tables over quite regularly, it’s how they can afford to be so cheap. It is by no means a destination restaurant, and I have no doubt that there are better Turkish restaurants in London, particularly on Green Lanes and around Kingsland road, but for a local neighbourhood restaurant when you’re wandering around Islington trying to find somewhere to eat and you want to avoid the major chains and Slim Jims and the Rattlesnake Bar hold no temptations for you, Kilis Kitchen is a lovely option.
I’ve tried to add the link to the website below, but I couldn’t get it to work. Just in case it was a one off problem, I’ve kept it in.