Sofra - St Johns Wood
Middle Eastern and African
11 Circus Road, St John's Wood, North West London, NW8 6NX
A small chain of Turkish restaurants, Sofra offers sophisticated cuisine in luxurious surroundings - all for a reasonable price. Serving breakfast, lunch, pre-theatre meals and dinner, they prove there is no bad time to enjoy a traditional Turkish dish or to share some fabulous meze with friends. On visiting the Covent Garden branch, we were greeted and seated by the charming staff and introduced to the intriguingly diverse menu. We eventually chose starters of lamb meatballs with pistachios, and spinach and feta pastry parcels. The meatballs were beautifully flavoured and quite unlike any I had tasted before, the pistachios proving an inspired addition. I couldn't resist opting for the special mixed grill for my main course, which came with a selection of beef patties, succulent marinated chicken and lamb on skewers, all served with basmati rice and cress. The meat was just how I like it: meltingly tender and rich in flavour. My partner went for the moussaka; as you'd expect from such a distinguished establishment, it was a perfect rendition of a classic dish, truly exhibiting the expertise of the chefs. Not only were our meals particularly aromatic and flavoursome, they were wonderfully presented - a common theme, we noticed, as other diners were served equally spectacular sizzling plates that tempted the senses as they whizzed past our table. For dessert, the mixed berry salad with raspberry sorbet was my first choice; unsurprisingly, the berries were as fresh as you could imagine. No great dinner would be complete without the perfect liquid accompaniment, and the wine here definitely deserves a mention. Recommended by our very helpful waitress, the La Serre sauvignon blanc was an exquisite partner for our meal, with its lemon scent and lively hints of pear and melon. We finished with a glass of decadent, honey-flavoured muscat - the ultimate ending to a refined Turkish experience.