Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gallipoli Bazaar, London

This article was published in the Hindu's Sunday Magazine on 19 March, 2011 :)

Deciding to explore the gastronomical offerings of North London, I dragged the crew to Angel and Upper Street. While a number of small, cute restaurants dot this area, Gallipoli beckoned us the minute we set our sights on it. Everything about this place — the hookahs, the dim lighting, the glassy mystical Alladin-esque lamps and the Mafioso handsome waiters navigating through the cramped space — screams Oriental. Even the carvings on the table tops fit the ambience and I loved the attention to detail. While we abandoned the outdoor seating in view of the incredible cold that evening, it should offer you a wonderful view of a bustling London in milder climate.

Veggie options
Their menu is vast and even had a considerable vegetarian section. (Keep in mind that the vegetarian variety cannot compare to that in India). Though they did have a few lovely sounding starters, we decided to head straight to the mains. In the vegetarian section we ordered Vegetable Couscous (£8.55) and Special Vegetarian Mousakka (£8.65). Initially, the barren blandness of the couscous left me a little disappointed but I soon realised that it's a dish that grows on you. Bland as the couscous is, the well-cooked veggies and sweet-sour raisins oddly complement it. The dish left me feeling warm and full. Even though the couscous managed to salvage itself, I preferred the Special Vegetarian Mousakka. This bake of aubergines, potatoes and mushrooms in red sauce was served with warm pita bread. Almost like a lasagne without layers, this dish served with a tangy sauce and a discernible undertone of cheese was a big hit with us. The other veggie dish that sounded really good was the Imam Bayildi (stuffed and fried brinjals). If any of you do end up trying it, let me know how it was.

In the non-veg section we ordered the Kafta (£8.60), grilled, herbed minced lamb with rice and salad. The meat was succulent and flavourful. The herbs gave it a distinct flavour that I quite liked.
The real star of the meal was the set meal for two (£10.95). This consisted of a cold mezze platter that included lamb guzvec, meatballs, falafel, hummus, yoghurt dips, borek, bakla and many other exotic sounding things. With warm pita bread on the side, this makes for a wonderful, filling spread that will satisfy even the most finicky connoisseurs, I daresay. The hummus deserves a special mention. Though easy to make, hummus is quite difficult to get just right but Gallipoli managed to do that very well. The Dolma (stuffed vegetables wrapped in grape leaf) was also exceedingly good. The vegetables inside were cooked nicely and the grape leaf added a special flavour to the dish. In keeping with my (and all Tamilians, I believe) love for anything curd-based, I devoured the yoghurt dips appreciatively. The veggies need not despair. They have a similar platter with dessert to cater to the non-meat eaters. At nearly £17, it is a little pricey though.
There is a wide seafood, grills and tajine selection too (Originally from Morocco, Tajine dishes are cooked in a clay pot that helps cook meat/veggies slowly at low temperatures).
Sweet tooth
Desserts largely consisted of the regular chocolate and ice cream-based offerings. If you do want to indulge your sweet tooth, and quite frankly who doesn't, I suggest you try the Baklava. This layered Greek pastry filled with honey and nuts is sure to hit your sweet spot. They have a decent wine menu and even serve some Turkish beer (Efes).
The servings at Gallipoli are good enough to leave you feeling full but not so large as to make you burst out of your pants. Service was efficient. The seating is a little cramped but somehow fits the general theme of the restaurant. They also have Gallipoli Cafe in the vicinity.
Quick Look
Ups: Good food, generous servings and efficient service.
Downs: Cramped seating, pricing (if you are on a moderate budget).
Bottom Line: Gallipoli serves fairly authentic Turkish fare in a mystic, Oriental atmosphere. I would definitely recommend going here and enjoying a lazy meal or two.
Pricing: £15-20

Location: 107 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN (Near Angel Tube Station)


moonlite:D said...

congrats on the "The Hindu" part :) way to go :D

your articles are really good..
I refer to ur blog (BLR section), when I look out for good restos :) keep it coming :)

garlutti said...

beautiful pictures, this is my first visit and I'm still ... I like to share my recipes and peoples, I invite you to visit him from SPAIN, GREETINGS MARIMI

Shruti said...

@moonlite and garlutti: thanks :)

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