Considering the riches of Anatolian cuisine in London, you might feel a little put off when you sit down at Zahter—a shiny and slick restaurant off Carnaby Street cooking the food of Istanbul—to see that a single palm-sized pide with yoghurt would cost a fiver. £5? We're used to our bread being low on price and plentiful in Turkish restaurants. But equally, why should a few slices of sourdough and smoked butter be seen as standard at the same price? Restaurants like Mangal II have said the same thing when it comes to the price and preconceptions of Turkish food, and it’s something we should all consider when we start complaining about the cost of certain cuisines.
Especially, when the food is as good as it is at Zahter. The mezze, both hot and cold, is spectacular. Luscious muhammara, sweet with peppers and pomegranate, made for scooping up with their crisp and warm wood-fired pide. Give us bread and a bucket of this and we're happy. But we're even happier when crunchy, caramelised beef manti are involved. These aren’t the soft kind of dumpling. They’re crisp and fattily glued to the cast iron they sit on. Excellently snackable (and also very sausage roll-like). Best of all though is the kayseri yaglamasi. Layers of pita bread, spiced beef mince, garlic labneh and walnuts. Think of a pancake tower made of lahmacuns. It’s a real greedy guts creation that speaks to our ultimate form: happy, hungover and feeling gluttonous when we open the fridge. Ultimately, yes, Zahter does add up to an expensive restaurant. But that's because food this good is worth it.
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