Pera is the Turkish neighbourhood restaurant on Upper Street that’s as authentic as it gets. It’s run by Turkish couple Yesmin (wife and manager) and S?leyman (husband and head chef), who want to showcase the more unusual eastern Mediterranean flavours, mezes and meat dishes to their Islington neighbours. I caught up with a heavily pregnant Yesmin to find out which dishes are taking Supper Street by storm…
Pera derives its name from a historic district Istanbul named Beyoglu, which has served as the melting pot for a huge number of cultures and cuisines since the 17th century. The décor is typically Turkish with modern influences, think long oak tables, exposed brick walls, big imposing doors and shutters and twinkling Turkish lamps. Yesmin sees me admiring the stained glass lanterns and tells me they spent a fortune bringing them back from Turkey, only to then take a trip to Camden Market to find every type of Turkish lamp money could buy!
Pera covers all bases offering breakfast, lunch, dinner and a range of fruity cocktails, wines, spirits and beers. Yesmin recommends diners whet their appetite with a Pera Dise - a fruity, vodka based concoction topped up with cranberry juice. All the food is lovingly homemade with fresh ingredients and served with a smile.
Breakfast is almost as popular here as dinner and they serve a variety of classic egg dishes as well as some more exotic options. Yesmin recommends the Pera Mediterranean breakfast, which is much like a full cooked breakfast, but with the addition of halloumi, borek (crispy cheese rolls), olives and feta cheese.
For lunch and dinner, there’s a delectable selection of specially prepared and marinated cuts of grilled meats and seafood, plus plenty of traditional and modern Mediterranean side dishes. The meze sharing platters are a must if you’re in a group or fancy something to share. The vegetarian mezze platter consists of spinach and feta crispy borek rolls, grilled halloumi cheese, falafel, humus, cacik, spinach, ratatouille, couscous salad and marinated artichoke, served with warm freshly baked bread, and the meat mezze platter offers a mixture of piping hot meats, plus a delicious selection of dips, salads and finished with lots of freshly baked bread. Iskender - a Turkish speciality of quality meat served on a bed of grilled Turkish bread and rich tomato topped with creamy yoghurt and smoked paprika butter sauce - is also very highly rated with Upper Street locals.
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