Tad Ocakbasi – Mare St, London Fields

Living around East/North East London there’s no end of really great Turkish Restaurants, or Ocakbasi’s (meaning ‘to stand at the grill’) to give them their correct name. In the year I’ve lived in this area I have tried a few, and the famous Mangal Ocakbasi has to be a favourite. But this week I went to meet some friends over in London Fields for dinner and we went to Tad Ocakbasi & Meze Bar on Mare Street. This was the first occassion since becoming a weekday vegetarian that I had eaten out with friends on a week day. To make it harder, Ocakbasi’s generally do incredible grilled meat. Luckily though, mostly everything tastes good cooked on a charcoal grill and there was a good selection of non-meaty dishes.

In all these places you get laden with a mixed salad, marinated onions, and flat bread before anything else arrives. This was particularly good at Tad, so so fresh and tasty. My virgin-ocakbasi friends assumed that this was the mixed meze that we’d ordered for starters, and so were pretty overwhelmed when the meze actually arrived. Apart from the calamari, the meze was vegetarian which was obviously great for me. Perhaps not so great if you’re really hankering after a full meaty dinner.

For mains, my vegetarian shish served with rice and pomegranite sauce, which I shared, was so tasty that I almost didn’t care that my friend next to me was eating lamb. Considering that we had a few beers as well, and were completely stuffed, it was very cheap. We sat outside in the evening warmth and it felt like we were on holiday!

MezeVegetarian Shish