Features

Welcome return for Turkish restaurant reopened after fire

Neil Littman visits Aksular in Palmers Green which has reopened 18 months after being destroyed by a fire

Mixed grill
Mixed grill

A big thank you to all those who gave me feedback on the reviews during the past year as well as recommendations for new places to eat out and interesting bits of information about moves and changes in the Enfield dining scene.

There is plenty of great talent out there opening new places to eat, despite the continuing fallout from the cost-of-living crisis. However, a recent article in the Financial Times about restaurant closures in London placed Enfield at the bottom of a table of boroughs with annual closures of 14.5%.

Based on my experience of eating in the borough this didn’t make a lot of sense as it seems that when one restaurant closes, another often takes its place.

Since 2021 I’ve noted the disappearance of Pizza Express in Winchmore Hill, Romna Gate and Sydney Rocks in Southgate, and The Larder and Winchmore Tandoori in Winchmore Hill. But I’ve also seen many openings – and reopenings – including Turkish restaurant Aksular, in Palmers Green, which is back again after being closed following a fire on the hottest day on record in July 2022.

Aksular returned to Palmers Green at the end of 2023 on the same site, opposite the triangle, and you could hear a collective sigh of relief from the local community. They do that thing that sounds deceptively easy; fresh ingredients cooked simply and well presented. It is something of a benchmark with most Turkish cuisine and why it remains a very popular choice for eating out.

I already knew about Aksular by reputation and recommendation when I first moved to the area nearly ten years ago and regret not trying it back then, but I am assured it hasn’t lost anything since it was out of action.

Aksular is all about classic Turkish cuisine served in a modern setting with murals, faux marble tables, comfortable seating and those decorative wood strips on the counters and bar that seem to be the latest in interior styling.

Aksular before and after
Aksular before and after

I arrived in tow with my local expert on Turkish cuisine. We shared starters; yogurtlu patlican ezme (grilled aubergine with yoghurt) and sigara böreği (feta cheese rolls in filo pastry). Complimentary salad and bread appeared at the same time. I think the bread is a good benchmark of Turkish restaurants – the lighter and fluffier the better! Two dips also arrived, one with yoghurt and hot green peppers (unexpected and original) and another of hummus that tasted freshly homemade.

The aubergine tasted a bit too cold and under-seasoned for my liking and I think it may have been sitting in a chiller cabinet for too long, but the sigara were very good and disappeared quickly.

My dining companion decided it was time for a cocktail and ordered a pina colada (£10) while I stuck to a Peroni which seemed a bit steep at £5 but that is where the mark ups are made now as restaurants know the diners will only pay up to a certain amount for food.

Our main courses were filleted sea bass with the skin grilled to a crisp and the tangy flavour of salt and spices, together with a mixed shish with grilled chicken and lamb. Both were served with rice.

I thought the main courses were well prepared and seasoned; good-quality lamb and chicken and the sea bass dish was outstanding and served with the usual yoghurt and hot sauce accompaniments.

We finished with Turkish coffee. Our bill came to £72, including drinks. The service at Aksular was friendly and efficient. It’s great to have it back.

Aksular Turkish Kitchen can be found at 232-234 Green Lanes, Palmers Green N13 5UD and is open Fridays and Saturdays, 10am-1am, and Sunday to Thursday, 10am-12am. Book by phone or online:
Call 020 8886 3503
Visit aksularpalmersgreen.foodbul.com