Hey Foodwalas… Welcome to another tale of Alfie Foodwala
One of my most favorite cities in the world is Istanbul…the place is absolutely captivating, I love sitting on the balcony of the Four Seasons hotel in Sultanahmet, which incidentally was a prison and watching the ships politely waiting to cross the Bosphorus and the majestic Blue Mosque on the right with six minarets framing the picture-perfect view of the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn.
I also love the dark clouds who mournfully sit on top of the Bosperous like petulant gargoyles watching the ships slip effortlessly down the strait that divides Europe and Asia.
The gaze then falls on the enigma that is the Hagia Sofia, which charts the history of Istanbul from the godless Romans to the Christian crusaders and then to the Muslim Ottomans. in the distance is the Topkapi Palace where the Ottomans ruled their empire and equally contributed to the advancement of the trilogy of arts that is science, cuisine, and calligraphy.
The Old city of Istanbul feels like a time machine into the past and the feeling you get touching walls that are two thousand years old is truly humbling.
One the other hand I also love the juxstopition, across the Galata Bridge you abruptly enter the modern Istanbul, and Istanbul where Giorgio Armani boutiques rub shoulders with Lora Piana and Ferraris cruise the boulevards of Nisantasi and the fine young things sit in cafes and you could think you were in Paris or Milan.
The thing that connects the two opposing worlds together is the cuisine of Turkey, which amalgamates in Istanbul, the Kebabs of Adana and the seafood of Bodrum, the donnars of Anatolia with the fruit and nut Baklava of the Trabzonspor. They are all curated in the amazing restaurants of Istanbul, which was beautifully showcased by the great and late Anthony Bourdain.
This week the Foodwala jeeajunt sought out the newly opened Turkiye in the Merchant City.
We kicked off the proceedings with some hot mezze, The Lahmacun was delicious, thin-crust dough topped with seasoned ground lamb, the flavour was subtle yet noticeable.
The prawns in Halab sauce was equally good, fresh prawns were tossed in Halab sauce and sauteed with green peppers and mushrooms, the peppers were not too soft, just right and the sauce had a delicious ambiance about it, I would have happily eaten the prawns with some rice as the main course.
The Haloumi and pan-fried sojouk sausage was also a hit, the salty halloumi was cooked just right so it did not become rubbery while the spicy sojouk sausage countered the salty halloumi…yum
The Turkish Falafel was a little different from its Lebanese counterpart, apart from the sausage shape, the falafel mixture was more smooth, i preferred the Lebanese falafel with its crispy crust and the soft centre.
we loved the hot freshly baked balloon bread, i am sure it has a Turkish name but that is what we called it
The main event was next, The Adana Kebab, this is my favourite kebab the lamb mince was well proportioned with the white lamb fat so it was moist and juicy and also just enough spice as not to overpower the mince, unfortunately, they did not use tail fat in the mixture.
The Chicken cubes were lightly marinated and cooked over the mangal, the chicken could have been slightly more tender and moist, however, it could be just how the chicken fillet was cut.
The Salmon was delicious, it was firm yet flaky and was also lightly marinaded without overpowering and since it was cooked on the mangal it had a slight charcoal taste which was pleasant, the accompanying seafood jus was a nice touch and added another element to the Salmon
Turkiye was very pleasant and the food was fresh and well presented, the Adana kebab was well seasoned and cooked on a mangal which is absolutely mandatory.
we were looked after by Kamil and the service was excellent without being intrusive.
The food is authentic as the other two tables in the restaurant were Turkish, a definite sign of a good establishment.