I remember being at Secondary school and the Ilford Exchange was the place to hang out. Going back there all these years later, it feels a little…weird, unsafe even. Still, in every run down neighbourhood you’ll find some great hidden gems and Wazir Turkish restaurant sure is one of them.
It’s essentially a huge room with brown wood tables and chairs. Very standard, no frills. There isn’t much up in terms of decor, perhaps some photos on the wall or trinkets hanging off but nothing significant enough for me to remember.
There is also a huge open grill where you can see the food is being cooked up fresh.
Turkish food doesn’t have a particularly strong smell but from what I can smell the moment I walk in, I am salivating.
It was a Thursday morning and already quite busy. I went with my cousins who live locally and swear that every evening without fail it is absolutely heaving. People also choose Wazir to throw birthday parties. The endless tables are advantageous for catering I suppose, I had yet to see if the potentially good food was the icing on the cake.
The staff are friendly and attentive. There was always someone around to help and they didn’t seem pushy or annoying either.
I scanned through the pretty extensive menu and noticed two things. First, that they didn’t serve falafels at all. Strange for a Middle Eastern restaurant really but we all are meat eaters so it wasn’t too much of an issue.
The second thing I noticed was that they had plenty of “adventurous dishes”, at least by the standards of a Middle Eastern restaurant.
You know what I’m talking about. Turkish restaurants are all very limited. They all serve the exact same dishes. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just an observation.
Since I’m not a fan of red meat I usually always opt for a shish taouk. Preferably with bulgar wheat but I’m happy to opt for Batata Hara if the option is available. This time though I saw something called the Chicken Tava and was intrigued. It came out in good time, piping hot and freshly made. I have to say it was delicious.
The prices were also very reasonable with the portions being extremely generous. It was slightly embarrassing actually as I have a small appetite and the staff thought I didn’t like the food!
All of the dishes were good, wholesome Turkish food. I couldn’t fault it really, but I if I’m 100% honest I wouldn’t rave about it either. I’ve been to A LOT of Turkish restaurants and in order for a place to stand out it has to offer a certain something that makes me remember it. Although I would definitely go again if I was craving a quick Turkish local to my sisters house but I don’t think it’s a restaurant I would travel to especially to eat.