Monday, 30 August 2010
Turkish Kitchen, Edinburgh
As I have mentioned many times in the blog, I spent 7 years living in Germany and as many discerning Germany fans know, the country has a high population of Turks who have brought their delicious cuisine with them. Similar to the abundance of the UK's Chinese and Indian eateries, Germany, especially Berlin, has seen an onslaught of Turkish restaurants, grills and Simitci (traditional bakeries). The smells, sights and sounds whisk German foodies off on an edible magic carpet of tasty treats- but what about UK foodies? Yes, I'm afraid to say it, us Brits are missing out on one of the most versatile, nutritious cuisines and some of the naughtiest, stickiest, diet-busting desserts! Slowly but surely though, the Brits are looking past the Döner Kebab and discovering what else the Turkish dinner table offers, and gradually, more restaurants are popping up (sometimes under the umbrella of 'Mediterranean Cuisine'). Tucked away in Edinburgh's Rose Street, I decided to sample Turkish Kitchen thanks to the recommendation of a friend (who had also spent a lot of time in Deutschland).
I glanced at the menu and although the prices were a million miles away from Berlin's offerings, the smells and descriptions were identical. The business lunch seemed like the best option at only £6.95 but to my dismay, there were no veggie options on the business menu. However, the friendly chef adapted it for my herbivorous tastes. To start, I had spinach and feta börek (Filo parcels) on a bed of crisp salad garnished with red cabbage. The combination of warm and cold whisked me off to a sunny beach on Turkey's Riviera! I waited with anticipation for my main course.
The main course hit the spot. Nutritious, filling, wholesome, the aubergine casserole topped with cheese was a hit. The plump aubergines burst with flavour in my mouth and was served with my favourite, tomato flavoured 'pilav' rice. I first sampled this speciality back in 1994 on a family holiday in Alanya (South Turkey). Back then, most people went to Spain on their hols and I was intrigued by this 'new' country and its exotic cuisine. Maybe it was that holiday when I first discovered my passion for the cuisines of other cultures; the different ways to prepare a vegetable, the fact that other countries do not use vinegar for chips but for salad, the way other cultures celebrate their food and not see it as a microwaveable chore. Sorry for strolling down memory lane; this rice just brought back some fond childhood memories.
After the stroll down memory lane thanks to the rice, it was time for dessert. The sweet treat on offer was Kemalpasa, but due to its sticky, sweet consistency, I gave it a miss this time and settled for a coffee. Regrettably, the coffee wasn't of the potent variety that I rave on, but it was a pleasant end to a pleasant meal.
Whether you want to revisit your holiday, have some summery food or have a chilled day off work with the papers and a business lunch, this is the place for you.
Afiyet olsun! (bon appetit in Turkish!)