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A place in the sun… (almost)

Efes is a Turkish party hotspot, a lively hub of belly dancers, holiday music and sunshine. Mancon went down to join in the fun…

Published on March 7th 2007.

A place in the sun… (almost)

Sitting in Efes and suspending belief for a few moments, it’s very easy to believe that when you step out of the door you’ll be in the middle of Bodrum on a hot summer’s night, with its brightly lit karaoke bars and sunburnt holiday makers sipping colourful cocktails. Tomorrow, you have nothing planned except a day around the pool and lunch at the beach bar, so relax, eat your fill and drink as much as you like.

Named after the historical city of Ephesus in Turkey, Efes is a haven of holiday fun in the centre of Manchester. Belly dancers, jolly DJ’s spinning europop favourites and delicious food all make Efes the sunniest place in the city, even on this, a wet and miserable February evening.

A Michelin starred restaurant this is not, so if you’re in the market for fine dining and swanky surroundings, you’re not going to get it here. But what you definitely will get is a bloody good time.

Our party of four visited on a Thursday night – a quieter night than a Friday or Saturday but still what’s known as a ‘party night’, meaning that the belly dancers are out and the holiday music’s pumping.

We were seated next to the dance floor (a potentially dangerous position if you’re the shy type, as you WILL be dragged up to dance) and chose a bottle of Çankaya (£13.50) and a couple of San Miguels to drink as we browsed the menu.

Efes have a lengthy a la carte menu which is available Monday to Thursday, and early evenings on Friday and Saturday, while on busy party nights (Friday and Saturday) the choice is limited to the merry sounding ‘Party Menu’ which features a choice between a three course banquet and a set menu, all of which range from £12 to £21 per head depending on the night in question.

We went for the Efes banquet – which came in three courses. The first course was a meze platter of humus, potato salad, olives in garlic, cous cous, stuffed vine leaves, and chicken salad, with an extra plate of pickled chillis.

The second course came in the form of a platter of hot nibbles, with spicy meat balls, halloumi, feta cheese filo triangles, garlic salami and king prawns in filo.

Being in Efes may feel like being on holiday, but thankfully the food is definitely still up to our cosmopolitan standards. The starters were all extremely enjoyable and perfectly nibbly for the party atmosphere.

To see more photos click here

To win a meal and drinks for four at an Efes Party Night, click here

While we waited for our mains to appear, the belly dancer wiggled out onto the dance floor and treated us to a solo display before picking out a hapless male victim from amongst the diners. Poor fella.

With heads ducked down out of the dancer’s sight we tucked into our mains when they arrived, which consisted of chicken, barbecue lamb cutlets and spicy chicken wings all served on a bed of Efes special rice. The mains were all served on one plate for us to pick at, which meant that we could help ourselves to as much or as little as we liked.

By this point the belly dancer was hovering around our table, and after finishing his meal our resident twinkle toes Alistair was more than happy to oblige with a dance. ‘Oh God, you’d never get me up there’ I thought, sinking down further in my chair. Five minutes later and I was up there, wiggling away with a group of ladies as we were taught some basic steps. Which, after so much wine, must have made for quite an interesting sight.

When the belly dancer finished her show, Hakan the resident DJ took to the decks, with all of those songs that you only ever seem to hear played on holiday, and for most of which you have a dance routine that was taught to you in a Greek bar somewhere.

Despite it being a school night, we danced away for over an hour, almost forgetting the fact that we were actually in the middle of Manchester, not on the sun soaked Mediterranean coast - and were in work the next day.

Efes is great fun. The service is friendly and very attentive, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is unbeatable. For a birthday, leaving do, or special celebration, you’ll have a brilliant time.

In fact, we like it so much that we’re giving away a table for four at Efes on one of their party nights. The prize includes all food and two bottles of wine – and of course some complimentary lessons in belly dancing.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill your details into the form below.

Jayne Robinson

Efes Restaurant and Taverna
46 Princess Street
M1 6HR
0161 2361824

This competition has now closed, congratulations to our winnerMarie Petrequin

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