Watch: We visit Türkiye Efes in Merchant City to learn more about Turkish cuisine ahead of the Euros 2024

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Turkey are set to compete in the Euros and are one of the countries competing represented in the Glasgow food and drink scene.

Evenings may be getting longer, warmer and brighter but the dreich weather has cast a dark cloud over summer as an uneasy political climate looms. Still, recently a buzz has been circulating through the city as our national team prepares to open the UEFA Euro 2024 Football Championships on Friday (14 June) in a match against Germany - the prospect of which has offered a collective sense of escapism, lifting the general mood. It seems we’re eager to welcome any opportunity to celebrate. 

As food is intrinsic to celebration I have been exploring Glasgow’s rich and diverse restaurant scene - with a particular focus on the European cuisine of competing countries.

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On this occasion I visited Türkiye Efes in the Merchant City to sample some traditional Turkish food. The restaurant is located at 97-99 Candleriggs, a short walk away from the Merchant Square where a fan zone will be open and all matches screened - making this a very convenient place to eat pre or post match. 

Having never been to Turkey my knowledge on the culture is limited to second hand tales. Their food, I discovered, is extremely colourful, vibrant and hearty, utilising lots of vegetables, legumes, meats and dairy products, and takes influence from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Balkan, Central Asian and Eastern European cultures. There are elements of their dishes I recognised or associated with other countries, but there are slight differences in the way they are prepared and ingredients used. 

Arriving at the venue it is fronted with baby blue panelling, a Mediterranean-inspired tile design and huge windows leading into the natural wooden restaurant interiors. Inside, colour is encompassed through details in the decor - warmer tones creating an inviting and cosy atmosphere. The venue is large with an open bar and dessert display.

Every table is given balloon bread with homemade butter before the meal. This is a Turkish delicacy usually served warm and topped with sesame seeds, it is a light bread designed to tear and share. 

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I ordered a selection of traditional dishes to try including the falafel dish which comes with fresh salad, homemade hummus and rice. I found this to be particularly flavourful with the falafel prepared with an appropriate amount of seasoning. The hummus had nutty tones and complimented the other items on the plate. Then there was the avocado salad. This is categorised as a side though it is a sizeable portion. The main event here is the chilli dressing. 

I then had Vegetable Pide which is a Turkish flatbread very similar in style and texture to pizza, the difference being it is not made with sauce. There were also various meat toppings available. This was delicious, I particularly liked the bread it was baked on - crispier on the outside while softer in the middle. Pide is a great sharing dish and the venue divides it into six slices prior to serving. I topped the meal off with a side of mushroom fritters that came with a sour cream dip. 

This is a great restaurant specialising in authentic Turkish food which I would definitely return too. They are open late everyday of the week and with being located in the centre of one of Glasgow’s most prolific bar districts it is ideal if you’re planning a night out. The venue does also host belly dancers so you may have the added benefit of entertainment. There are a lot of natural ingredients on the menu and as there is a variety it should suit various appetites and dietary requirements. 

Turkey are currently set to play in the group stages of Euro 2024 against Georgia, Portugal and Czechia, so if you’re looking for a means to get in the spirit, Türkiye Efes is the place to go. The restaurant has just opened a second location in Uddingston.

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