one evening shortly after my return from pakistan o & i landed up at yildiz ocakbaşı restaurant i discovered after a little google-ing that ocakbaşı means a grill restaurant with an open fire pit in the middle. the london restaurant doesn't have a fire pit in the middle but it does have a rather long grill as soon as you enter. the lighting here is dim and the interior warm with the heat of the grill and the smell of meat. o likes starters and orders the hellim - charcoal grilled slices of very salty haloumi cheese. i personally prefer my haloumi sliced a little thinner but it was tasty all the same. with it came pide, warm and dusted with sumac.
for mains i ordered the chicken shish and o, the chicken beyti. the difference between the two is that the beyti is a mince kebab and the shish, cubes of chicken. both of them were cooked on the grill. neither of us were prepared for the generosity of the helpings. along with the rice, pide and salad that made up each plate there was a scrumptious complimentary serving of grilled onions in turnip and pomegranate sauce, the tang and tart of which accentuated the clean herby and salty flavour of the meat. the complimentary fried onions dressed with some sumac were equally good.
the next day i came over and we ate the left overs with a fresh order of imam bayildi - a large aubergine stuffed with tomates, onions and garlic served on a bed of rice. yildiz's rice is incredibly good. long grain and fragrant. we would all recommend eating here. especially since not only is it really good wholesome food but its very well priced too.