Monday, February 20, 2012

Sofra, Mayfair

I should start this post by saying when I got to the restaurant for dinner, I was a little bit sozzled on the count of having to kill a couple of hours with Mr P and My two Sister-in-law P's. They shall be known as Sister-in-law P (no1) and (no2). Too many P's. So, three bottles of red wine later and it was time to head to Sofra and I loved it. We all loved it. It was amazing food at a good price and this was not the booze talking.
Sofra is a Turkish restaurant and has several branches in London. I have walked past one of their other branches a few times and heard good things so used our meet up as an excuse to give it a try. We did not regret it at all.

(Apologies for the slightly dark photos. They normally come out better than that).

We were seated in a cosy corner and within a few moments bread and a bowl of hummus was brought over. This almost disappeared in seconds thanks to a certain Sister-in-law P (no.2). Our drinks order was taken and we decided to carry on with the red wine theme, and get a bottle of the Yakut/Angora wine which I think I liked more than everyone else, but it was still a decent drop. It was about £15 for the bottle.

After a little deliberation we all decided to go with the Chef's Special so that we could try a bit of everything. And boy, did we try a bit of everything. So many bowls of food it was brilliant.

The favourite seemed to be the Spinach and Feta Parcels. Oh my word, so good. The pastry was crunchy and then the soft flavoursome feta and spinach. Honestly I am not doing any justice to how gorgeous it tasted. Then smooth Hummus with succulent lamb and the Halloumi perfectly grilled so its soft. I sometimes find halloumi can be a little too salty and squeaky when chewing but not here.

The Falafel, admittedly I have had slightly better but it was a close second and yes that is a chip on that plate, they were flipping great even though not perhaps in keeping with the rest of the food.

The unexpected joy was the Red Lentil Patties, creamy and gently spiced. They are meant to be served cold but perhaps they were just a smidgen too cold, (only just taken out the fridge perhaps?) and could have been a little closer to room temperature if I were to nit pick.

The meat bowl was simply unbelievable. Every bit was juicy and well cooked. The beef meatball perfectly seasoned and nomsville. The chicken not at all dry and the lamb still with a bit of pinkness to it. This is how meat should taste! By this point there is pretty much nothing I eat that is not perfect or close to. The nut salad and Tabbouleh are two things I do not normally like and this is still the case but that is just personal taste. Everyone else around the table thought they were well balanced salads to go with the other dishes.

You can substitute the meat bowl for a Spicy Fish Pot with Basmati Rice which is what Mr P did. There was salmon and a selection of white fish with veg. Although a little too spicy for me it still tasted full of flavour and Mr P loved it.

Time for dessert and there was a slight struggle within me for two of my all time favourites were on the menu. Lemon tart and Creme Brulee. Finally I went for the Creme Brulee because it had saffron in it, and I had not tried that combination before.
Both Sister-in-law P's had mint tea which was brewed in a little cafetiere with fresh mint, which they both enjoyed very much. We were also given cubes of turkish delight which was a nice treat.

Everyone else had Apple Tart Tatin, Baklava, and Warm Organic Apricots.
The Apricots were lovely stewed spoonfuls of comfort. I am not too sure if I liked it with the walnuts but it was great with the cream.

The Tart Tatin (I love saying Tart Tatin. It is one of the few words that you can say in any accent and it sounds posh. Tar Tar sauce is another one) was perfectly balanced with the sweet apple and spicy cinnamon. The pastry underneath melted in the mouth and the Vanilla Ice cream a perfect accompaniment.

The Baklava I think was the best dessert which we all agreed on. It is one of the very few dishes I like with nuts in. Sweet, sticky, crunchy mouthfuls of happiness.

The Creme Brulee was nice but a little too browned on top so there was a slight burnt taste which was a shame. However, the custard underneath was perfectly balanced in vanilla and sweetness. I could not really taste the saffron to be honest but that did not ruin anything.

The quality at Sofra was just perfect and I wish I could eat at more places that take such care with their food. I would most definitely go again and insist anyone reading this does so too.

The staff for some reason had giant name tags which perhaps were unnecessary but they were polite, unintrusive, and there were reasonable waiting times between ordering, and the food arriving. In general we had no complaints about the service at all.

I very almost gave it a 9 out of 10 but one small thing niggled me a bit, the cover charge which is separate to the service charge. I do find it unnecessary to add an extra £2 per person. It did not seem to be optional and only finding out its a charge at the end of the meal just mildly annoyed me. It wasn't enough to make me hate this place and not want to go back because everything else was just great.

The bill for 4 people including service and drinks was £120.

Value for money:8.5