Hidden underneath the arches of Waterloo East railway station in London is the exceptional EV restaurant that is waiting for you to visit. EV restaurant is owned by Tas Restaurants, which has several Anatolian dining establishments scattered around London. Anatolian food is a type of Turkish food and is full of nutritious goodness and is bursting with flavours. Forget the kebabs and sugary Turkish delights, as EV offers a wholesome, hearty and good-for-you food that will have you returning in a heartbeat.
Whether you want to have a snack or something more substantial, this is the must-go-to-place for any meal in the day. EV restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything that you want in between. It is close to a number of stations including Southwark underground station and is also close to the popular theatres, The Old Vic and The New Vic. I am definitely going to be a regular at EV restaurant as its far too good to stay away; read the rest of my review and I’m sure you would will agree with me.
Your new home that has a deli, restaurant and bar
I feel compelled to tell you about EV restaurant because it is located in such an assuming place at The Arches, 87–99 Isabella Street, London, SE1 8DD and it would in fact be quite easy to miss it. However, once you spot it, you will be introduced to a flavorful deli, bar and restaurant that is all within EV restaurant. You will be transported away from the hustle and bustle of London to a gorgeous restaurant with the sounds and smells of the Mediterranean within a spot where there are no cars whizzing by due to its pedestrian-only location.
The word “ev” means “home” in Turkish and amongst the busyness of London, you do need a home where you can relax at any time of day and that’s where the EV restaurant comes in. There is a real eclectic décor from the outdoor seating all the way through to the deli, restaurant and bar. There is lush landscaping within the entire area with potted plants, olive trees and bamboo shoots around. The atmosphere is quite romantic and melancholy with a soupçon of decadence. The deli serves up homemade hot bread, an extraordinary array of salads and some accompaniments. The restaurant has several menus, including festive ones, has something for everyone and considers dietary requirements very well. The bar has a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks that can be ordered.
Delicious and distinctive cold and hot mezzes
Whether you order from the a'la carte menu or a set menu (such as a festive menu), there will be several plentiful options available. From the moment that you are seated and whilst you peruse the menu, you will be offered freshly baked complimentary Turkish bread with a yoghurt dip and some olives. From the starters on the menu, you will be able to see the variety of cold and hot mezzes available. As you can see from the photograph, my fellow diner and I struggled to decide which ones to order, so opted for a number of them.
From the cold mezze, I would have to recommend the humus, which is pureed chickpeas with tahini, garlic, lemon and olive oil and it goes wonderfully with the homemade bread. The piyaz, which is aubergine cooked in olive oil with chickpeas, tomatoes, garlic and peppers, is also a good dish to enjoy with the fresh bread. If you want a dish with distinct textures, then the nutty kisir, which is bulgar wheat mixed with crushed walnuts and hazelnuts, spring onions and tomatoes sauce and seasoned with fresh mint, dill and herbs is recommended.
From the hot mezzes, the borek, which is a filo pastry filled with feta cheese and spinach, is absolutely irresistible and if you order it, I would recommend that you have it with the hummus and/or the homemade chilli sauce available upon request. The kofte, which are spicy falafel, are also recommended as they’re crispy on the outside and full of flavour on the inside. My favourite, however, has to be the hellim, which is a grilled cheese that is served with salad. Hellim is a tasty full fat soft cheese that is made of goat milk, salt and a hint of mint and is one of the most delectable cheeses that you could ever experience.
The cost of the mezzes start from 5.75 GBP (7.70 USD).
Bright, colourful, vibrant and balanced dishes
There are a magnitude of options for the main meals on the menus and if you’re a vegetarian, you’re in for a treat as you will have many dishes from which to choose. With my love for hellim, you won’t be surprised to learn that I would recommend the hellimi ispankli dish, which is essentially spinach sautéed with chickpeas and hellim cheese and is the dish featured in the photograph. It’s a bright, colourful and vibrant dish that has so much flavour. The vegetables in the tomato sauce are spicy and pair well with the salty cheese; the chickpeas add another texture to the dish and the red cabbage adds some more crunch to the dish and of course make it very photograph worthy. Another recommended main meal dish is the mantarli domates soslu, which is pasta with mushrooms and green peppers in a fresh tomato and basil sauce that will certainly fill you up.
Overall, the food served at EV restaurant is beautifully flavoured, well portioned and memorable. The drinks to accompany the food are also wonderful. For example, the organic juices are recommended and include the following flavours: orange, melon, pomegranate, fig and even a rose sherbet. If you want a drink that can be made nowhere else, then the EV delight, which is a cherry and peach juice with lemonade, should be sampled.
The cost of the main meals starts from 9.95 GBP (13.30 USD). The cost of the drinks starts from 2.15 GBP (2.80 USD).
A surprising dessert menu with traditional and unusual options
Oh my goodness, when it comes to desserts, EV restaurant goes all out and has the most mouth watering menu and one that will also make you raise an eyebrow in surprise at some of the items listed on the desserts menu.
Let’s start off with the more traditional desserts that it offers including the succulent and crispy baklava, which is made of filo pastry, walnut, honey, syrup and ice cream. There is also a wholesome and well balanced rice pudding, which has a hint of rose water and orange. Following on from this, there is a sweet and dense semolina cake that is covered with coconut and is served with an orange syrup and ice cream. On the menu, there is also a chocolate cake and next to it says, “simply delicious” which is a point I have to confirm is correct. The chocolate cake at EV restaurant has to be one of the best, if not the best chocolate cake that one could ever eat. It’s moist, gooey, chocolatey and so very heavenly.
The more eyebrow raising desserts include the kaymaki patican, which is baby aubergine with clotted cream and the ispankli cake, which is a spinach cake served with ice cream. If you fancy a change and want to see how savoury and sweet can be combined, then you know where to go. Whilst I have not yet experienced these items, I have a feeling that the EV restaurant won’t disappoint with its unique and unusual combination.
The cost of the desserts starts from 4.65 GBP (6.20 USD).
An all round perfect dining experience
If you haven’t been to the EV restaurant yet, just go! It is a fantastic restaurant with great surroundings, attentive service and delicious dishes. It’s a hidden asset in Waterloo where I can assure you that you will have a positive and memorable experience. From the moment that you see the tremendous menus and quality food to the time of ordering, eating your food and then bidding farewell to your companions at the end of the experience, you will enjoy every minute. I could not fault one single thing during any of my experiences and in writing this review and thinking about the dishes that I have enjoyed, my mouth is salivating which you know means that I will be back to the EV restaurant very soon. So, hopefully I’ll see you there. If you do visit on an evening, you may be in luck in enjoying the accomplished Turkish musician who is fascinating to watch and listen. What are you waiting for?
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