Hi foodies, long time no see! It's been quiet on the foodie front lately as I've been going to some of my usuals and hate blogging about the same place twice (Christakis, UNI and Red Fort in Liverpool to name a few) so have refrained from blogging til I discover some new eateries. The heatwave has put me off curries temporarily so I decided to try Elif, the Turkish place at Childwall Fiveways. I was a bit sceptical at first as Turkish cuisine UK style has been hit and miss for me, a seasoned connoisseur of mainland Europe's Turkish communities. The menu looked pretty enticing, 2 courses for £12 and there seemed to be a good selection for veggies.
First impressions were positive- beautiful Mediterranean décor and traditional Turkish wall tiles and a rather handsome Turkish staff member sweetened things up. Talk about dish of the day! (sorry male readers) To start, I ordered the Patlican Salatasi below, the Turkish equivalent of my Dubai staple Baba Ghanoush or my Greek fave Melitzanosalata. It was pleasant, albeit a bit too creamy. Not as good as ones I've eaten in Istanbul or even Turkish caffs in Germany.
My 2 dining partners ordered Cacik which tasted watered down and the chicken wings which were a success with the Carnivore. These were served with a bread basket which was sadly taken away when the starters were finished. I was disappointed that when it came to the mains, the meal I wanted wasn't available as it was the reason I had chosen to come to Elif instead of a repeat Christakis visit. I was craving stuffed vine leaves and tomatoes, and went crazy when they said it wasn't on but there was a veggie casserole instead. I'm not a fan of veggie casseroles, it shows lack of imagination and inspiration, a bit like when pubs do a frozen lasagne or 'posh' places fob us off with a mushroom risotto the colour of dirty dishwater. I had no choice but to order it, wishing I could've gone to Christakis instead. The Carnivores ordered a Lamb Casserole and Lamb Kebab. When the plates came, I was lost for words as were the carnivores. The meals were served with rice and salad but the portions were tiny. The rice wasn't even proper Turkish pilaf but reeked of Uncle Ben's. It appeared that between the three of us, we were sharing one bag of a boil in the bag rice. The salad was fresh and tasty but seemed ok for two but not sufficient for three. Carnivore 1 loved his lamb kebab- he had no qualms about the quality of the meat but complained how bare the plate was. No bread, no traditional Turkish dips and no chips or potatoes. Carnivore 2 liked the lamb in the casserole but the actual casserole was inedible- it tasted like someone had lobbed in a tin of Napolitana Chopped Tomatoes. And more toms. And even more toms. Even the lamb was probably suitable for veggies as the sheer amount of tomato puree had probably negated out the meatiness of the lamb. What can I say about my casserole? Pass the Rennies. A concoction of feta, peppers and even more tomato, I quit while I was ahead as I didn't want a sleepless night of acid reflux.
I was hoping I'd be won round by dessert but no. Instant coffee was on the menu plus ice cream for an astronomical sum. I gave it a miss and went to the Fiveways instead. Come on, if you're going to be a serious competitor in the restaurant market, please buy a coffee machine. I was disappointed as I really wanted to like Elif as it's local, plus I'm a massive fan of Turkey. £12 for a 'deal' seemed extortionate for a few tins of tomatoes and boil in the bag rice. As authentic as a bar of Fry's Turkish Delight.
The good: Friendly staff and beautiful décor
The bad: Small portion size and no decent coffee