Gallipoli, N1

Pronounced ‘Ga-LI-puhlee’. Yeah, you only make that mistake once…

There are THREE Gallipolis on Upper Street in Islington. I’m not sure why this is; could be because one just isn’t enough (like mezze!), could be to really mess you up when you’re meeting friends – come to your own conclusions, Readers. Luckily they’re all within about 20 feet of each other so if you do end up in the wrong one it’s not the end of the world. They’re all amazing inside; hundreds of lights hang from the ceiling, hundreds of photographs adorn the walls (some relevant, some random), interspersed with lovely middle eastern tiling and other pieces.

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^ So pretty…

The whole thing is vaguely reminiscent of a junk shop, but in a really cool way! The tables are bare, the staff are friendly, the food is cheap and some nights they have belly dancers coming round to entertain you during your meal. If it’s your birthday – oh lucky day – they’ll do you a cake and sing ‘Happy Birthday’… and then bring out scarves, make you get on your chair and have your entire party do an impromptu belly dance while the waiters (and other diners) watch and applaud. This place is – without wanting to sound too fangirl – just plain FUN!

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You can probably guess from the above that I’m a pretty regular visitor to any and all of the Gallipolis. They’re just so easy! Doesn’t matter if you’re not that hungry – just have some mezze, a glass of wine and a chat. You’re starving, you say? Go mental! The main courses here are generously proportioned (almost as as generously proportioned as I would be if I kept eating them…) and bloody delicious. Don’t have a lot to do? The atmosphere is so lovely you could sit for hours nibbling baklava, drinking strong coffee and watching the world go by *sigh*.

One of my friends loves middle eastern food, so I decided it was high time to introduce her to this treasure. Neither of us were mega hungry (stranger things have happened…) so we decided to share some mezze for a light dinner. We started with the cacik (tzatziki, basically) and baba ghannuge with pitta for nibbling. The cacik is lovely – everything you want from a tzatiki; fresh, light & yogurty. But the baba ghannuge… oh god. Better than crack (probs). Seriously smoky auberginey goodness – I could (and have been known to) eat plates of the stuff.

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We also ordered the borek; filo parcels stuffed with feta and parsley, the goat’s cheese salad and the halloumi (have you spotted a theme yet?). In our defence we MEANT to order the meat borek but the waiter misheard and to be honest we couldn’t be bothered to put him right – they were delicious and there’s always room for more cheese.

From the meaty list we ordered the kofte and the chicken wings. The wings were lovely – just juicy and chargrilled, and with a surprising amount of meat which is always nice on a wing. The koftes weren’t greasy and heavy like some can be, but smoky and tasty instead. Also (bonus aesthetic points) they were shaped like meatballs rather than the weird little processed sausages. Shouldn’t make that much of a difference, somehow really does.

We ordered the perfect amount for a midweek dinner and it came to about £50 with wine. Bargain! The mezze selection is amazing – especially for veggies – and don’t think that because we didn’t order any fish dishes they’re no good. Sarah isn’t the biggest fan of seafood, but the pan fried king prawns here are especially good I think.

I didn’t take many photos of the food as the lighting was (again) really crap – the perils of relying on your iPhone! One day I promise I’ll work up the courage to take foodie photos with my DSLR. Not sure I can really pull that off yet though…

What we ate:

See above

What we drank:

I think we had a bottle of sauvignon (it had been a hard day) – wine is very reasonably priced here, like everything else

Would we go again?

So much…

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