Tarshish is a Turkish and Mediterranean Grill restaurant outside central London. It is located at Turnpike Lane and is a mere two-minute walk away from the station. The modern & chic design of the building makes it stands out from the rest of the infrastructure around the area.
As you walk up the stairs, there is a bright and massive dining area. But if you go further up the stairs, there is a rooftop dining area. The rooftop is retractable and I heard they are even planning to build another rooftop area on top of this rooftop!
Tarshish is not just another Turkish restaurant in London. What’s unique about them, apart from the rooftop dining setting, is their menu. With all the typical mezze and Turkish grills, they integrated a hint of east meets west by including side dishes like mac & cheese. It’s a bit bizarre but I’m not complaining as mac & cheese is one of my most favourite comfort foods after all.
Here is what we ordered:
Mixed Mezze (small £10 / large £16)
The mixed mezze includes Baba ganoush, Patlican Soslu, Tabbouleh, Hummus, Cacik (Tzatziki) and Spinach Tarator. Warm bread is served along with them.
All of them were absolutely delicious and refreshing. It’s definitely the perfect starter to a meal. My favourite is definitely the hummus and the Patlican Soslu (roasted aubergine cubes in a mixed pepper and tomato sauce).
The hummus is freshly hand-made and is mixed with roasted red peppers, which added a nice boost of flavours. As for the Patlican Soslu, I find it really appetizing. I like almost anything in tomato sauce really, and they hit the spot.
King Prawns (£8)
These king prawns are cooked with diced tomato, mixed peppers, spicy red pepper flakes, parsley, onion and olive oil. The prawns were very tasty and cooked just right. I would have liked the sauce to have a little kick of spice to it though. It’s a very delicious dish but not particularly memorable in my opinion.
Sujuk is spicy Turkish sausage. While normally it’s served as a grilled sausage, this one is cooked in a tomato, mushroom and basil sauce. Among all the starters we had, this one’s definitely my favourite.
There is a lovely kick of spice and flavours in this dish. The sauce was rich, luscious and thick. I think I definitely prefer serving Sujuk this way instead of a typical grill because it doesn’t taste greasy at all. I happily wiped my plate clean with some extra bread. In addition, I would happily have this as a main dish to serve with rice as well.
These thick rings of squid were fried to gorgeous golden crisp. And of course they’re served with tartar sauce.
The coating of the calamari is crispy and nicely seasoned. The squid itself is not tough to eat and cooked impeccably as well. It’s always nice to have calamari. The dish was really nice and tasty but not particularly outstanding among the rest of the starters we’ve got.
Borek (£6) & Halloumi (£6)
The halloumi cheese was thickly sliced and charcoal grilled. While the idea of having a big blocks of cheese is alluring, it doesn’t work that well with halloumi in this case. The flavours were unfortunately a bit underwhelming.
As for the borek, these filo pastries are filled with feta cheese, spinach and pine nuts. The pastry was crispy and enveloped such cheesy goodness inside. Everything tasted fresh. I liked how it didn’t feel greasy or oily at all. The filling wasn’t overpowering either. It’s a very nice balance of flavours overall.
Garlic Mushrooms (£6)
This one’s also a favourite of mine. It doesn’t come across as a typical Turkish / Mediterranean starter as the mushrooms are served with a cream & garlic sauce and garnished with Parmesan.
I really enjoyed the delectable flavours from this dish. It’s very savoury and saucy. The garlicky flavour just matches with mushrooms incredibly well. In the back of my mind I was imagining have this with pasta for some reason. A bit of a random thought, and it’s definitely irrelevant to what this restaurant serves, but it would work.
Mixed Grill (£20)
The mixed grill includes cubes of lamb, chicken and Adana shish. It is served with mac & cheese and garnished with tomato salad plus red cabbage coleslaw. The meats were all well-marinated and quite flavoursome. However, I find it a bit dry. Out of the three items, the lamb stood out the most to me in terms of both texture and flavour.
As for the salad, it was incredibly refreshing. With so much meat on one plate, it does get rather heavy. The acidity from the salad dressing balances the heaviness out. The red cabbage coleslaw is pretty interesting either. I’m not a fan of coleslaw but I do appreciate one that’s fresh and done nicely.
Mac & Cheese (£5.5)
The final thing on the plate is the mac & cheese. Speaking of mac & cheese, you ought to do the classic cheese pull shot!
Look at that cheesiness! Despite all that cheese, it wasn’t sickening at all. I personally would like it to be saucier as it felt a bit dry after some time. The Mac & Cheese itself I really enjoyed. That’s my type of comfort food after all. However, it did feel a bit random or slightly mismatched to serve it with kebabs.
Lamb Chops (£21)
These lamb chops are served with mashed potatoes, garnished with tomato salad and red cabbage coleslaw. Each lamb chop was thick and meaty. For that reason I was expecting it to be cooked medium. However it’s pretty much well done so that’s rather overcooked to my taste. The meat’s quite lean too and I normally prefer a bit of fat on my chops as it adds tenderness to it.
Lamb Beyti (£17)
This dish is basically minced lamb (Adana) wrapped in tortilla bread, served with yogurt and topped with a touch of halep sauce.
While the meats so far were leaving an okay impression, this one was spot on. I absolutely enjoyed the burst of flavours from the dish. The tortilla bread was crisp and held the meat nicely. The dash of sauce adds moisture to it and rounded up all the flavours.
Wagyu Ribeye Steak (£35)
You can’t go wrong with a Wagyu steak. Its intense marbling and high percentage of oleaginous unsaturated fat make it such a desirable source of steak. The meat was tender and succulent. It’s lightly seasoned and I felt it could use a bit more of a punch of flavours in order to create a wowing factor. There could also be a stronger sear and crust on the steak.
Iskender Kebab (£19)
The Iskender Kebab consists a combination of lamb, chicken and adana shish. It is served over a bed of croutons and finished with tomato sauce, paprika butter and yogurt.
At first I find the meat a bit dry again. But then the sauce plus yoghurt added moisture to the meats so it turned out quite nice. The flavours were more elevated in this dish and very palatable.
Pan-fried Sea Bass (£15)
Look at that gorgeous golden crisp on the skin of the sea bass! There was a mild crisp but unfortunately not as crispy as I expected. Nevertheless, the fish was absolutely enjoyable. It’s lightly seasoned, which complemented with the delectable fish flavour from the sea bass. The soft and flakey texture reflects a really nicely cooked fish. In contrast to all the meaty dishes, the sea bass is a much lighter option and stood out from the crowd.
The mash wasn’t particularly special but I somehow really enjoyed the spinach on the dish. It’s cooked with chillies and tomatoes, which creates a burst of flavours.
Last but not least, Tarshish also serves a selection of both cocktails and mocktails. The fruity mocktails looked visually great and were refreshing to pair with the meal.
…Tarshish is quite a little local gem in London. Tarshish stood out to me with its nice rooftop setting that adds a lot to the whole dining experience. The food is pretty pleasant as well. If you’re based near the area, it’s definitely a lovely spot to stop by for occasions without breaking the bank much. It ticks off the boxes for a nice group meal or a more intimate dinner date.
Everything is halal.
Alcohol is present on premise.
Nearest Station: Turnpike Lane