Out in central London and fancy some Turkish food? Then check out Kibele, a modern Anatolian Turkish restaurant located just a short walk away from Great Portland Street and Oxford Circus stations. With its central location, it is no surprise that the restaurant has gained a fair bit of popularity over time. We went for a very late Sunday lunch and the restaurant was still pretty busy there. As a bonus to its prime location, it’s also got quite a snazzy interior, with plush seating and a luxurious ambience minus the pretentiousness.
Kibele: Modern Turkish Food Lounge & Live Entertainment
Another huge draw for Kibele is its lounge & entertainment area. Whilst the ground floor features a smart restaurant setting, there is the lounge area downstairs where live entertainment occurs every weekend. On Fridays & Saturdays, the restaurant offers live band entertainment, belly dancing, and DJs.
Since it was a Sunday when we visited, there wasn’t any entertainment happening downstairs. But we saw people going in & out testing the sound systems etc. We were guessing that it was for a private hire birthday party later in the day. Let’s just say their speakers can go pretty loud even if you’re seated upstairs. We were, rather unfortunately, seated right in front of the staircase so there was certainly no peace & quiet during our meal. If you’re looking for a quiet intimate dinner, either avoid Friday & Saturday nights or ask for a quiet corner. Alternatively, outdoor seating is also available.
The Food at Kibele (What We Ordered)
Kibele’s menu features a range of traditional Turkish dishes such as meat grills, mezze etc. All meats served are halal at Kibele. Alcohol is, however, served at the restaurant.
Date of visit: October 2021
- Beef Sucuk & Halloumi (£7.50)
- Gourmet Hummus (£6.90)
- Grilled King Prawns (£9.90)
- Mixed Grill (for 2) (£39.90)
- Lamb Beyti (£17.90)
- Kunefe (£9.90)
- Baklava (£7.50)
- Pink Lychee Mocktail (£5.95)
Beef Sucuk & Halloumi (£7.5)
For starters, we had the beef sucuk and halloumi, and both were a delight. We enjoyed the garlicky touch of flavour from the sucuk, and the halloumi came with quite a strong cheese flavour. Though interestingly, the halloumi seem to have a very slight touch of flavour that resembled goat cheese.
Gourmet Hummus (£6.9)
Then we had some hummus and bread. The hummus was fresh to taste and blended into this thick and smooth consistency. In terms of flavouring, it could use a little extra touch of seasoning in my opinion. I couldn’t taste much of the spices & seasonings used but it’s still a decent one overall. Personally, I enjoyed the bread more which was nice & fluffy. The bread arrived warm and was perfect to go with the hummus as well as wiping up any sauces from other dishes.
Grilled King Prawns (£9.9)
These grilled king prawns make a fairly delicious starter. The prawns came in reasonable sizes and were well-seasoned, featuring a great balance of flavours. While the prawn itself did seem to taste from a frozen source, the marinade (olive oil, ginger, garlic, dill, and turmeric) certainly made up for it. It comes in two skewers with 3 prawns on each.
Mixed Grill (Just for 2) (£39.9)
There is a regular mixed grill, and then there are sharing mixed grill platters as well on the menu. We went with the ‘Just for Two’ sharing platter, which is supposed to be for 2 people. But as the platter arrives, we realised that the portion was massive and it can definitely feed 3-4 people!
In the mixed grill, there were spicy lamb skewers, chicken & lamb shish, chicken wings, chicken kofte, lamb ribs, and chicken on the bone. The meats are served over a bed of both rice and bulgur, and a large portion of salad also comes separately. Overall, the flavours of the mixed grilled meats were okay. They were not particularly outstanding in my opinion and the chicken & lamb shish, in particular, were slightly lacking in flavour. The kofte could use more spice in the mix as well and, overall, lacking seasoning. Additionally, the mixed grill didn’t manage to escape from the too-common notorious criticism of being dry. Whilst somewhat expected at Turkish restaurants, I was also hoping it wouldn’t be the case for such a nice-looking restaurant like Kibele.
Lamb Beyti (£17.9)
The other main dish we got to share was the beyti. You can choose from chicken or lamb – we went with the latter. Whilst the chicken kofte from the mixed grill was a bit underwhelming, the lamb kofta here definitely left a better impression. The meat was also somewhat a little juicier too compared to the meats from the mixed grill. I enjoyed the flatbread over the meat, which tasted fresh and all the sauces complimented well with everything. It was tender, saucy, and flavoursome. The dish comes over a bed of bulgur as well which tasted lovely. I’d certainly recommend getting the beyti over the mixed grill.
For desserts, I absolutely had my eyes set on the Kunefe and it’s definitely the best decision to make. I adored the Kunefe at Kibele very very much and it’s certainly the highlight of the meal. Our waiter kindly cut the kunefe and divided it into portions for us. It was crispy on the outside, enveloping rich luscious cheese inside. There was just the perfect balance of honey syrup where it didn’t taste too sweet and featured a really good balance of flavours with the cheese where the cheese itself got to shine as well. The generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top was a lovely touch that paired well with the kunefe. I would totally recommend this and would return to Kibele just for this!
We also tried out the baklava for dessert, which is generously stuffed with pistachios and topped with a massive scoop of vanilla ice cream. The baklava carried a nuttier flavour and less of a typical syrupy taste. It’s generally a lovely treat, but the Kunefe is still the winning dish of all.
Pink Lychee (£5.95)
For drinks, one of our friends ordered the Pink Lychee mocktail. It comes nicely presented, featuring pretty hues of pink. Taste-wise, it’s very refreshing, with a tangy touch that certainly opens up your palate.
Restaurant Review Summary
Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Kibele but we’re not particularly jumping with hype about it. It’s a decent pick in central London with a nice ambience and great service. Personally, I do feel it’s a little pricey for what it is. But then it’s also not atrocious considering its location. The main dishes may not have enticed me enough to make a return but I’d certainly be happy to stop for desserts when around the area!
All meats served are halal at Kibele. Alcohol present.
Nearest station: Great Portland Street