In ancient times the city of Ephesus boasted one of the seven wonders of the world, namely the Temple of Artemis, which apparently was eventually destroyed by an angry mob, but that’s not really the point.
The point is that today, the restaurant which takes its name from that ancient city, could indeed be a wonder of the modern world... at least in Rodley.
It’s possibly not the first place you would choose to look to find a top notch Mediterranean outlet but its certainly one of the more relaxing corners of Leeds, with two pubs, Rodley Barge and The Owl, being just short walk away.
Mediterranean restaurant Ephesus has been quietly cementing its reputation for the last few years. Located at Rodley Bottoms on Rodley Lane, just down from the roundabout, it’s also a stone’s throw from the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
If Oliver’s memory serves correctly, it opened two or three years ago and at that point was ensconced in a single shop unit. Even back then, it appeared on our radar as a place worthy of note.
Things must be going well for the restaurant, however, because it has recently expanded, taking over an adjoining unit and in doing so, really allowing its clientele to breath and relax even more than they could before.
The vibe here is definitely chilled out, the food you could quite easily find in any Mediterranean taverna.
We pitched up just after 5pm one evening mid-week and found the place empty, although that didn’t last for long and by the time we left, several of the tables were occupied.
We were given a warm welcome and shown immediately to a table.
The decor in the new wing of the restaurant is simple, fresh and clean with an uplifting ocean blue jumping from the furniture to the wall paintings and tieing in nicely with the terracotta and sunshine yellow decor.
The menu declares the food served here is simple and healthy and authentically Turkish and Oliver can vouch for that.
We had some bread and olives delivered to the table and the bread was nice and fresh, the olives too.
To start I ordered stuffed vine leaves (£5.50), while my dining partner ordered meatballs (also £5.50).
The vine leaves were rolled up with a seasoned mince which was really quite welcoming, with a nice delicate flavour and not too spicy.
The meatballs, described on the menu as spicy lamb meatballs in a tomato sauce with Turkish herbs, peppers and mushrooms, also passed muster and we were pleased with our choices.
When it comes to mains, Ephesus offers a wide range of meat dishes with a great selection to whet your appetite, from lamb cutlets, chicken and sirloin, not to mention a decent selection of fish, which was the area of the menu I felt drawn to most.
I plumped for the Salmon Istanbul (£13.95), which was cooked with prawns in a mushroom, grain mustard, garlic and cream sauce. It was served with rice and salad and proved the perfect dish, being expertly cooked, the fish not overdone and just falling apart at the touch. The sauce complemented the fish with a nice smack of seasoning.
My partner went straight for the special mixed grill (£14.90), which comprised adana skewer, lamb cutlets, lamb skewer and chicken skewer and again came with rice and salad.
For desserts, I went for cheesecake, while my partner had chocolate cake, which I have to say had the texture of velvet, every mouthful a true delight. The cheesecake wasn’t bad either.
Generally, the food at Ephesus is well above average. The more you eat, the more you want to eat and that’s no bad thing when you’re paying for it.
We did think, however, that some of the dishes, certainly the ones we had, were similar in some respects, especially with the rice and salad but that said, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it and returning here to roadtest some of the other dishes, particularly from the lunchtime menu, would not be a particularly arduous task.
The overcall bill came in at £68.75, which was great value for the food we ordered. We also ordered two pints of Peronni lager and two glasses of white wine. If you’re not a meat eater, they also offer vegetarian dishes.
Staff are friendly and relaxed but there remains an air of formality, which is as it should be in a restaurant. Overall, it seems as though they are making all the right moves. Drive past the place on a Friday night and you’re likely to see it packed, with even the outside seats taken up.
We were also impressed with their attitude toward children, with virtually the whole of the menu to chose from, rather than just the usual, limited range some places tend to offer - basically, you choose a dish and they just serve a smaller portion. And they’re happy to take requests in terms of toning down the spicing, if you so wish.
There are also some good meal deals on offer, including the All Day Special, which offers two courses for £13.99, Sunday to Thursday noon to 10pm, there’s a special lunch menu (which we shall be testing out sooner rather than later) and they also deliver, with 20 per cent off orders over £35 and a free bottle of house wine thrown in for good measure. Where else can you get an offer like that?
It might take its name from an ancient wonder but its definitely a modern classic.
Address: 4 Rodley Lane, LS13 1HU
Tel: 0113 2561668
Opening times: noon-10pm, seven days