Taking a classic British takeaway option and jazzing it up with a splash of Turkish style
By Katie Garner
With May mid flow and our April afternoon tea seeming a mere distant memory, it was time to ramp up the fun once more with another social shenanigans – this time a Sunday dinner with a difference, as we hit new fish and chips come Turkish restaurant Oh My Cod, based near Emerson Park station in Hornchurch. Already owners of a flourishing chippie round the corner, the new restaurant is an expansion and second venue, offering not only your usual chip shop suspects, but also an array or hot and cold Turkish starters, kebabs and grill dishes, and even traditional Turkish pastries such as baklava.
We had a table booked for ten people at 7pm, although only nine of us ended up arriving since one member had the audacity to forget! Present and correct were usual socialites jumper clad Mike F and heavy ring laden Helen, as well as West Ham loving Frank tucked at the end of the table. Het, who is now back in fine form after injury, was also able to come after a long absence so it was fantastic to see him. Welsh duo Janet and David also stepped up to the plate, with newer members Caroline and Sarah W also enjoying the evening.
I was quite impressed by the food, as the people sitting near me could probably tell as I hovered pretty much anything that sat still long enough that was in my vicinity – much to the amusement of both Mike F and Frank! The waiters started by bringing around bread baskets, with thin slabs of warm, baked bread, decorated with a criss cross pattern on the top. Dribbling pools of olive oil onto our bread plates, we all dunked away merrily, tucking into the bread, Helen and myself clearing our basket neatly between the two of us. For starters, I had opted for the cold saksuka, which is lightly sautéed aubergine in a tomato, onion and garlic sauce. Served with a dainty side salad mainly consisting of finely grated lettuce, it was really lovely and the sauce had wonderful aromatic flavours. I think it would have been slightly nicer as a warm starter, but I thought it was really yummy and I was impressed by the combination of tastes.
For my main course, I decided to have something I hadn’t tried before, going for the lamb shish with yoghurt sauce. The chunky cubes of lamb meat were placed over a bed of diced bread with vast pools of natural yoghurt acting like a moat around my central straight line of lamb down the centre of my plate. The meat was coated with an Anatolian sauce – I have no idea what that it but I would hazard a guess at a tomato and spice based concoction that worked well with the darker meat. I ordered some rice to go with it, and this ended up being large beads of white rice, laced with some form of bean sprout. The rice was actually really nice – I piled it onto the saucy sections of my plate to absorb all of the lovely flavours. We were also provided with dishes of side salad to share, scattered around the table. These included red cabbage, rocket leaves and grated raw carrot.
Even though my plate didn’t look overfull, it actually turned out to be far more filling than I expected, and I did enjoy every experimental forkful that I ate. Strangely, I found the yoghurt the richest part of the dish, maybe because there was so much of it. Normally I love bucket loads of sauce with my food, so I am baffled as to why so much yoghurt nearly outdid me. Note: nearly. Being overwhelmingly stuffed didn’t stop me from polishing off Het’s leftover battered cod and fat chips – I have a strict no wastage policy. The chips were perfect – I adore a chunky chip and these were the right mix between posh restaurant chips and soggily moreish chip shop chips. The cod was lightly battered so it wasn’t too heavy to eat, the fish lovely and flaky and soft inside its crunchy shell. Unfortunately Sarah, who had ordered battered skate, didn’t end up eating her main as they undercooked her fish – twice. Slap on the wrist there.
Janet, Caroline and I split a rather refreshing bottle of rose between us, the drivers of the group sticking to tap water and coke, Het hitting the beer and Mike F refusing to be anything but traditionally English by ordering a cuppa.
Since we hadn’t ordered dessert, when the bill came, we were also presented with a selection of baklava, and some small syrupy sponges to munch on. Embarrassingly, I think I ate pretty much the entirety of these nibbles – I just love the nutty yet syrup sweetness of the flaky filo pastry in the baklava. It just feels so decadent yet not too heavy, although I did eat about four or five. The little puds were tasty too, although rather messy to eat as the sauce dripped very stickily whenever you attempted to pick them up.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the evening. The food was delicious and reasonably priced, although it was a shame about Sarah’s meal. The company, as usual, was fabulous and it was brilliant to catch up with you all off court. The June social has already been scheduled for Saturday 14th June as a summer picnic in the park behind Frances Bardsley school. For all the details, please check out the event on the Facebook group and make sure you sign up on the notice board to be included.
Thanks again for everyone who came on Sunday!