Image courtesy of Mehmet Efendi 1953.
Eating & drinkingLocalOut & about

Turkish chain Mehmet Efendi 1953 opens its first London branch in Whitechapel

Since opening earlier this year near Aldgate East Station, Mehmet Efendi dessert shop has become a go to for anyone in need of some Baklava.

If you have walked past Altab Ali Park recently, you will have noticed something new on the corner. It’s hard not to be drawn in by Mehmet Efendi 1953’s luxurious display of cakes. But be warned, if you window shop, you are likely to be drawn in.

When you step inside, you might think that you had been transported to Istanbul. When I visited the shop hummed with the chatter of families, couples and students. They were all enjoying either a cake, künefe or baklava with Turkish tea served in traditional tulip-shaped glasses.  

The counter immediately drew my attention. Here they display the baklava in the trays it was cooked in, on a long, well-lit counter. Just as it would be on the Bosphorus.

There is a lot of choice, and I was indecisive. Do you want pistachio or walnut? Rolled or traditional? My server offered me one on the house served on a cocktail stick, a clever way to avoid the trademark post-Baklava sticky fingers. I’m not sure if she felt sorry for me or wanted me to hurry up and decide. 

In the end, I asked her to make me up a box with a bit of everything. She extracted six pieces with the precision of a neurosurgeon and delicately placed them in a box. Everything feels a bit more luxurious when it comes in a box. 

When I came to pay, I realized that a mother-and-son duo was serving me. The boy politely totted up my order as his mum watched over his shoulder, giving this luxe franchise a welcome family feel. 

As soon as I sat down on the Elizabeth line on my way home, I couldn’t resist cracking open my treasure chest of goods and having just one. It was crunchy, sweet and my fellow commuters looked on in envy.

Mehmet Efendi 1953 is a great place to grab a showstopping birthday dessert or for a small sweet treat and some tea with friends and family. It is open from 8 am to midnight every day, and a small box of Baklava costs around £9.

If you enjoyed this, you might enjoy our review of the Hummingbird Bakery in Spitalfield.

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