119 Ballards Lane
Tel: 020 8346 8977
Finchley has its fair share of traditional Turkish restaurants (though, oddly, a paucity of post-pub kebab shops). One of these is Dürüm, at 119 Ballards Lane.
The menu offers a wide range of Turkish fare, from kebabs to yoghurt-based dishes, and all manner of grilled meats. Everything is cooked on the coal-fired grill at the front of the restaurant, and though the fear was that the entire place would smell of greasy lamb and chicken, the air-conditioning thankfully prevented that from being the case.
The restaurant was encouragingly busy at around a quarter to eight on a Saturday night. We hadn’t booked and were lucky to get a table for two in the corner – reserving a table is definitely recommended on the busier nights.
To drink, we settled on a bottle of Tempranillo Rosado (Spanish rosé) wine between us, which was dark and fruity – more to my taste than that of my wife – and about right at £12.95.
The restaurant was bustling but the service was speedy and our starters arrived, with a big basket of bread, after just a few minutes. I plumped for aubergine stuffed with onions, tomato and green peppers, which came exactly as that is written – a large aubergine filled with said contents, and very nice it was too. My wife plumped for the mixed meze platter and declared herself pleased with the results.
The main course for me was chicken breast in yoghurt and butter sauce. It wasn’t a huge portion, but as it was incredibly filling I was more than done by the end, and it tasted excellent. My wife’s mixed grill was a gigantic plate of chicken, lamb, quail and possibly others we couldn’t identify, and too much for her to finish.
Incidentally, she chose her two dishes in order to compare them to the other popular Turkish restaurant in the area, Izgara on Hendon Lane, as she has had the same combination in there many times. The verdict was that the food was comparable and it was impossible to pick a winner. However, the cheerful nature of the staff in Durum definitely compare favourably to the somewhat brusque reception often experienced in Izgara.
The meal came to around £45, and we certainly felt we’d had our money’s worth. Overall I would recommend Dürüm as the best restaurant of this type in Finchley and well worth a visit.