Review by Paul Nelson
Handy for The Old Vic and The Young Vic, as well as the avant-garde Union Theatre in Union Street, TAS is a restaurant that is well worth going for.
Tas is the traditional Anatolian cooking pot that is used to make the intriguing casseroles, whose very scent is enough to make any hungry person giddy, and while swooning over the menu, which is extensive, the word 'attractive' kept popping into my mind.
The restaurant is attractive, the service too, and the food is very attractively served. You begin by choosing from the large menu while nibbling olives or bread and humus.
There is a large and well-stocked bar for an aperitif, and a large wine list. This is headed by the Turkish wine Buzzbag, which if you haven't tasted yet I would urge you to make haste. It is a red wine flavoured with cherries and prunes and has a sharp yet very pleasant effect on the palate, at the same time satisfying as an accompaniment to a meal and acting as an appetiser. Therefore, you could easily go straight in to the wine instead of an aperitif.
The menu, definitely anchored in the Middle East, is in itself an interesting
read. It is full of surprising new treatments of familiar foods and is welcomingly
The soups are very filling and delicious, from plain red lentil to the complex Midye Corbasi (mussels, celery, coriander and ginger). The starters section is a fantastic collection of hot and cold dishes numbering twenty-four in all. You can experiment with all kinds of sausage, vegetables, cheese dishes, fish and meat. You are spoiled for choice and the person at the next table will have something on his plate that you will crave as well as that on your own.
There are nine different salads, eight kinds of rice dishes, and six of pasta. Vegetarians are not forgotten and these too show an Eastern flair from Patlican Dolmasi (stuffed sun dried aubergines), to Kabak (courgette, tomato, onion, and garlic served with couscous). The main courses range from the fourteen grills, which include all kinds of kebabs as well as the usual ingredients we are all used to (but treated in the very special ways of this restaurant), to the ten casseroles, all of which are as lovely to look at as they are to eat.
The fourteen fish dishes from sardines to Dover sole make the nearby restaurants specialising in fish look tame indeed. For the not so adventurous, there are set meals arranged for you, some available only for parties of two.
Only the more prized foods are expensive (sea bass, Dover sole, sirloin steaks)
everything else on the menu, starting at £1.45, is under, sometimes
well under, £10.
Lunches here are very special and the restaurant apart from being handy for the aforementioned theatres is an elegant place to meet and impress friends, without needing to be as well heeled as Bill Gates.
Tas Restaurant. 33 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1. Tel 020 7928 1444; 020
7928 2111; 020 7928 6840.
There is also a sister restaurant at 72 Borough High Street, London SE1. Tel 020 7403 7200.