Tucked away behind the Southwark riverfront, lies a quaint and cosy Turkish eatery that neighbours Shakespeare’s Globe. This eatery, is Tas Pide, and it is one of the many establishments that form the “Tas” group of restaurants. Much like the neighbouring theatre, Tas Pide promises poetry in action, in the form of classical Turkish cuisine with a modern touch. All the meat here is halal. Alcohol is served.
I’ve visited Tas Pide on one occasion with Steak, and it didn’t take me long to pick my victim from the menu. I opted for a kulbasti – lamb fillet with potato puree, oregano and onions, whilst Steak ordered an Eskili kofte – bulgur and lamb kofte with baby potatoes, chickpeas and basil. For dessert, we ordered a “Firin Sutlac”, a helping of baklava to share, and a Turkish coffee for myself.
The kulbasti lamb fillet was a proud piece of fine-quality meat. It was extremely tender, carried a beautiful, moderate pink tinge throughout, and possessed a delicate, stringy texture. Each piece could be pulled from the rest of the fillet with little to no effort, and my steak knife almost felt a little overpowered – like using a machete to butter toast. However, although it had a pleasant, inherent flavour, it was rather bland, and given the fantastic standard of cook, a little more seasoning could have really pushed the food score up to a 4 or even a 4.5. That said, the exquisitely tender texture ensured that it was still a joy to eat.
The potato puree, though slightly thin in consistency, was soft and smooth, with a subtle essence of oregano working in the background. All that was needed was – well, more of it. A man needs his carbs as well as his protein. Meanwhile, the stir-fried onions that came sprinkled on top had a sharp flavour and a crunchy texture, (as did the peppers), which contrasted well with the soft potato and tender fillet.
The eskili kofte consisted of a number of egg-shaped bulgur and lamb patties, which were fairly soft and tender – though, once again, more seasoning was needed. The baby potatoes that accompanied them were soft and thick, but fairly scarce in number, whilst the assortment of basil, chickpeas and other vegetation provided a variety of textures and most of the flavour from the dish. Overall, the dish brimmed with a very vibrant set of Mediterranean style flavours.
More carbs were craved following mains, and so dessert was ordered. The “Firin Sutlac” was served cold and came with a firm skin, within which resided a soft pudding with a smooth sweetness. Unfortunately however, it was a little thin in consistency. Despite this, it delivered a pleasant combination of flavours – namely, a strong hint of rosewater, a subtle hint cinnamon, and a very strong essence of orange rind, which took ultimate dominance amongst the three.
The baklava meanwhile came in a perfect trio, sitting comfortably on a bed of single cream and ground pistachio and walnuts. They had a soft, sticky and moist texture, delivering a sharp sweetness from the honey, and a strong and dominant background flavour from the pistachio. The single cream complemented the baklava beautifully, creating a wonderfully smooth blend of flavours.
When it came to the TUrkish coffee, I found that it hadn’t been brewed particularly strongly, which was a little disappointing. However, it still retained a strong and robust flavour. The coffee delivered most joy when Steak tried a sip with a spoon and immediately began choking and spluttering. Naturally I laughed in her face. The key thing to remember when someone chokes on coffee is to laugh first, then laugh some more, then finally, check if they’re okay.
Value For Money: 2.5/5
For a restaurant located in the heart of Southwark, prices are very reasonable indeed, as are portion sizes, with mains ranging in the £10-£15 range, and desserts around £5-£6. However, as mentioned before, the volume of carbohydrates is a little limited, and thus, the mains aren’t quite as filling as they could be. A little less conversation, a little more carbohydrates please.
Staff were polite, but overall, service was a little cold and indifferent. Not at all awful by any measure, but a little more warmth would have been appreciated.
Tas Pide does a lot with a little – the little being the tables and chairs, which are very low and short. (Southwark must have a much higher dwarf population than any of us had anticipated). These low tables and chairs are a replication of the dining style in Turkey, which is a very nice touch. Steak, being shy of 5ft, was in her element. Myself? I spent the first five minutes in the restaurant staring at my chair, trying to figure out how it works. Attractive ceiling fixtures, false greenery and an assortment of lighting also helps to create an attractive look, and almost gave a little hint of medieval feel. I’m sure Shakespeare would have loved to have grabbed lunch at Tas Pide in between performances – though sadly, I imagine he would have always ordered in poetry and no-one would have understood him.
The restaurant is located near Southwark bridge. It’s approximately a 10-15 minute walk from Mansion House station, and around 10 minutes from London Bridge. You may be able to find parking if you’re lucky, but don’t count on it.
There’s not much Tas Pide offers in terms of atmosphere. It’s relaxing to an extent, but it’s a bit too quiet and vacant. Still, you can enjoy yourself perfectly well. It’s a bit like the atmosphere when home alone for a few days. Except you’ll probably be better fed.
Tas Pide has a fantastic foundation to be an excellent restaurant, but a number of small improvements do need to be implemented – such as the need for a greater amount of seasoning, more generous potato portions, and greater engagement from staff. Nonetheless, it does well enough to make me wish to return, which for now, is good enough. Well-cooked meat in pleasant surroundings. To go or not to go? That is the question. (I say go).
20-22 New Globe Walk
London SE1 9DR
Telephone: 020 7928 3300