LDNReview

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Etles Uyghur Restaurant image
8.5

Etles Uyghur Restaurant

Uyghur

Walthamstow

$$$$

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Home cooking is often food at its best. Carbs and sauces are attacked from all angles of the table. Stains appear and napkins fall. No matter how full, you can always have just a little bit more. A final fork. Just one more dip before defeat. This fulfilling kind of cooking isn’t exclusive to the home though, and no restaurant demonstrates that more than Uyghur restaurant Etles in Walthamstow.

From the piles of steaming hot hand-pulled noodles, to the pristine floral tablecloths soon to be chilli oil-stained—everything at Etles comes from a husband and wife duo. This living room of a restaurant, complete with two-tone walls, lacy curtains, and a chintzy chandelier, suits all kinds of situations. But given the warm hospitality, we always want to eat here as a family—relatives or not. This spot prides itself on feeling like a home away from home. 

Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Uyghur cuisine comes from the predominantly Turkic Muslim group from Xinjiang in north west China. But their very idea of home is under threat from reported human rights abuses by the Chinese state. The cuisine is little represented in London and in a piece by Fuchsia Dunlop for Eater, Etles co-owner and chef Mukaddes Yadikar said that she and her husband “chose London because there are so many Chinese people here, and they love Uyghur food”. It’s easy to understand why.

Etles’ mix of sizzling skewers, freshly baked naan, hand-pulled noodles, and plump dumplings are a delicious mix. The star of the menu is undoubtedly the large plate chicken—an enormous platter of springy hand-pulled belt noodles topped with a heartily spiced chicken stew. It’s sloppy and spicy, generous and moreish. A dish that’s made for everyone and, like Etles as a whole, has home in mind.

Food Rundown

Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Lamb Tugur Dumplings

These boiled dumplings, filled with a spiced lamb and onion mixture, are the way you should start every meal at Etles. Like their jiaozi cousins, they’re plump, slippery, and best bathed in Etles’ fizzing Sichuan chilli oil before being popped in your mouth.
Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Traditional Leghmen

A steaming heap of round hand-pulled noodles with a saucy mix of sweet peppers, onions, cabbage, and strips of caramelised beef hiding on top of them. You eat these noodles in the crane position—back straight, head down, eyes lasered on the pile of glorious, wet carbs below. The tomato-based spicy sauce will likely blister the top of your mouth as you shovel noodles in, and you won’t give two hoots.
Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Mixed Skewers

There are lamb, chicken, and kidney skewers on the menu and we’d recommend getting all of them. But if you’re going for just one, make it the lamb. It’s mercilessly marinated in a tingly cumin and chilli rub and is cooked perfectly pink.
Etles Uyghur Restaurant image

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

Etles Large Plate Chicken

These days, it feels like few plates that are billed for sharing suit that recommendation in reality. Let us tell you, there’s no such problem with Etles’ large plate chicken. The hand-pulled belt noodles are simultaneously soft and bouncy—strong enough to lasso someone from the other side of the room. The carefully stewed chicken falls away from the bone at first glance. The sauce—a reddish brown chilli and Sichuan pepper concoction mixed with vegetables—is slurpable and sweat-inducing.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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