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Bağa bak üzüm olsun, yemeye yüzün olsun (Turkish Proverb)
“Take care of the vineyard, so the vineyard takes care of you
– Some wise Turkish Fella
I was 7 years old when I had a seminal culinary epiphany, It was the long hot summer of ’79 when we closed the restaurant for a major refurbishment, the whole restaurant was stripped back to the brick walls.
It was then when there was great excitement and a flurry of activity, a huge transporter lorry arrived. On the back of the lorry were 2 large wooden crates, I wondered what could possibly be in those Jurassic-looking crates, Curious I had a look around.
The crates were marked in a different language, I was intrigued, to say the least, I tried to peer between the wooden slats but could not see anything. After a while I got frustrated and hungry and went in search of something to eat, my larger-than-life chacha was quite a raconteur and was in the kitchen shell with some workmen, he was telling some story and the guys were beside themselves with laughter.
I asked my chacha what was in the wooden crates, even in the middle of his story he took time to explain that the crates were tandoors and pointed at the workmen, and these gentlemen were going to install them.
So I watched them peeling back the wooden planks and installing the tandoors on a base of concrete and old whiskey bottles.
After they installed the tandoor they put coal in and lit them, while the coal was burning red hot the tandoori artisan cured the inside of the new tandoor with a mixture of pureed spinach, yoghurt and sugar. Apparently, when the intense heat hit the sugar there was a reaction and the carbon in the sugar practically became glass thus creating a ceramic coating to protect the inside of the tandoors for years of hard use.
Then the tandoor chef cooked a few skewers of Chicken in the tandoors, and my chacha gave me some to try it was indeed an epiphany, I was gobsmacked at how delicious the marinaded chicken was, the smokiness, the juicy tenderness, the nuanced spiciness.
The Tandoor had me at hello.
This week we were in Edinburgh and came across this intriguingly named Turkish restaurant called Shish.
My curiosity got the better of me again and we decided the explore the restaurant.
The restaurant decor was smart and Instgram friendly, definitely Antalya Bling
We kicked off the proceedings with some Hummus and Muhammara.
The Hummus was delicious, smooth and creamy, maybe it could wee bit too smooth and could have had a little bit more bite to it, but that was a personal choice.
The Muhammara paste was made with walnuts, tomatoes and red peppers, however, it was too dry for my liking, it could have been done with more olive oil and tomatoes.
Next up was the Mix Grill Khazana…Chicken Shish, lamb Shish, lamb ribs, grilled chicken thigh, butcher koftä, Adana kebab, chicken wings, lamb cutlets’’
The mixed grill was presented on this regal platter and it looked spectacular, however it lacked substance, just like Edinburgh it was
“Fur coat and nae knickers”
The lamb ribs were a little emaciated, it was like nibbling on tree bark, and the Chicken Shish were nicely seasoned and moist.
The chicken thigh was again nicely seasoned, the lamb chops were thin and dry and under-seasoned. The Koftä was under-seasoned and a little dense.
The Adana kebab was disappointing, the meat was dry as if the proportion of lamb meat to tail fat was not right.
In the platter was some stodgy bread and rice.
There was a lot of talk about Shish on social media, possibly it believed the hype.
The restaurant decor is pleasant, Antalya Bling.
The food was decent but not as amazing as I was led to believe (not pointing fingers at my brother JoBro)
the constituant parts were presant but it just did not sizzle, like the chef had a night off.
The service was friendly if not a little insure.
The Star of the Meal?
The Star of the meal could have been the Lamb Chops if they were more substatial and had the cap of fat to keep them moist. but was possibly the Chicken and Lamb Shish, well marinaded, delicious and with excellent execution.
Shish are good but could have been exceptional, It has some amazing peers in the Turkish food scene in Glasgow, particularly like Roya and Eda or Gokyuzu in London, or Sirali in Dubai.
The Lamb and Chicken are halal.
NO Alcohol are served on the Premises
100% impartial Guarantee
Alfie Foodwala visits all restaurants anonymously and pays for the bill like any other customer, Alfie Foodwala does not accept free meals in return for reviews.