Istanbul BBQ & Bistro Woolton
Of two branches of Istanbul, the restaurant in the heart of Woolton Village is the OG, founded in 2013 with just 10 covers, and back on track and much expanded after suffering a fire. “Good food is good mood” is the motto or Mr Serce and his team, and a few bevvies also help.
The clue’s in the name, and sultan kebab, et sote and chicken guvec are some of the authentic Turkish Ottoman offerings on the extensive menu. The first combines chicken and lamb, sauteeing them then serving with a creamy bechamel sauce; the second is marinated lamb pan fried with onions, peppers and tomatoes, and flavoured with herbs and spices; the third is a regional stew that consists of chicken strips slow cooked in the oven in a traditional earthenware pot with onions, red peppers and tomatoes, and there’s a vegetarian version beefed up with aubergines and courgettes. Perfect for sharing with friends or family – and this is a place geared towards groups – there’s a mind-spinning number of meze dishes, including cold small plates of hummus, taramasalata and stuffed vine leaves, and hot dishes of falafels, chargrilled chicken or lamb souvlaki skewers and the spicy Turkish sausage sucuk. If trying to decide proves too difficult, there are various platter options, ranging from small to jumbo, and from veggie to full-on meat. There’s even a Ladies Platter, which serves up Prosecco, pornstar martinis and kebabs, and a Raki Platter, involving the national aniseed-tasting liqueur – because fun is as important as food at Istanbul BBQ & Bistro.
Pick right and you won’t need pud, but if you still have room, the baklava is a must-have dessert at Istanbul, perfect served with a generous helping of ice cream and a coffee. “There’s no better way to end a meal,” they say.
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