Ozer, Oxford Circus – 5 Langham Place, London. W1B 3DG www.sofra.co.uk
From humble beginnings in rural Turkey, the charismatic Huseyin Ozer has become known for overhauling London’s approach to Turkish cuisine. In addition to hearty grills and roasts, his menus offer a lighter range of game and seafood dishes and even a ‘healthy set menu’ of sprightly mezze including subtly spiced falafel, leafy tabbouleh and virtuous broad bean salad…
‘Sofra’ (Covent Garden, Mayfair, St. Christopher’s Place, St John’s Wood) and ‘Ozer’ (Langham Place) have plenty to offer credit crunch diners, including a two-for-one deal on breakfast at flagship, Ozer, beside All Souls Church. A round of toast comes with rose petal scented jam, a trio of Belgian chocolate spreads and Turkish honey. Set menus at both lunch and dinner are fit for an inscrutable king. For £12.95/£14.95, you can enjoy a drink, fresh flatbread, smooth hummus and earthy black olives and a main course.
We lunched at the light, but luxurious Ozer which has vivid red walls, marble tiled floors and soft, plump cushions. After greaseless vodka-crisped squid rings, we enjoyed lightly charred, de-boned quail with broccoli florets. A pudding of cubed milk dusted with nuts evoked diced boiled egg, but tasted utterly revitalising.
Providing the weather holds out, we will be sure to try Covent Garden’s Sofra next time, which has a retractable roof.
Huseyin Ozer shares his secret recipe for the perfect Tabbouleh
- 2 tablespoons bulgur
- a large bunch of flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 6 large fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
- a pinch of caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 extra-large tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- salt and ground white pepper
1. Put the bulgur in a small dish a cover with a teacup of tepid water; set aside so that the bulgar can soften slightly.
2. Meanwhile, assemble the remaining ingredients, except for the salt and pepper, in a large serving dish. Stir them around to distribute evenly.
3. Tip the bulgur, and a few drops of the water that clings to it, into the serving dish and stir everything around. Season to taste. Leave to stand for 25 minutes, during which time the bulgar will soften yet still retain a slight crunch. Serve.