bread and olives

Istanbul – Review

Sometimes I find myself getting stuck in a rut when it comes to deciding where to go for dinner. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a damn tasty rut. But, sometimes I fancy somewhere new, something different.

And, having had my fill of burgers, Mexican and Chinese food recently, I quite fancied a taste of the Mediterranean. Lokanta, Zeugma and the La Mama all sprung to mind, but we wanted to stay in town on this particular evening and, given the recent closure of Platillos, this did leave us relatively limited in terms of options. Thankfully memories of a friend’s recommendation of Istanbul came to save the day and we decided it was worth a go.

It was a busy Friday night, so I was glad that I’d managed to grab us a booking a couple of hours earlier. And, sat by the window, we could enjoy the atmosphere of the restaurant whilst looking out into town. We started with complimentary nibbles of bread and olives. Complimentary things always make me smile. And complimentary things that taste good, make me quite happy.

Thanks to M&S’s ever expanding wine offering, I now know not to be snobby about Turkish wine and we went for the Cankaya, which is a dry white. At £13.95 a bottle, this was a good value, fresh tasting white which hit the spot nicely. For those who are still a little sceptical, there are a couple of Italian options too.

We decided to share a platter of hot mezze (£8.50) to start. With sausages, halloumi, whitebait, calamari, feta cheese parcels and falafel it was well worth its price tag as there was plenty to share between the three of us (a friend had joined the husband and I on this occasion). It was also a good way to try a few different things. For me, there was a little too much batter on the whitebait and the calamari, but the others disagreed and on the whole, this was an enjoyable start to the meal.

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However, it was nothing in comparison to my main of Karburga Tarak, or charcoal grilled lamb ribs (£8.90). I’d never had lamb ribs before, but I can tell you now, I will certainly be having them again. Succulent and full of flavour – not only of the meat, but also of the charcoal – these were simply delicious! The side salad was fresh and prepared with some care, the rice was buttery and I thoroughly enjoyed getting stuck in with my fingers and gnawing the meat of the bones.

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Had we stayed, we could have moved onto baklava and coffee, but we were stuffed. So we shall have to wait for a return visit and I’m already eyeing up the srama beyti (spicy and minted lamb served in a tortilla)… having said that… those ribs are available for takeaway…

Istanbul is great for a reasonably priced treat. There’s no airs or graces. It’s about the food. And the chatting. And having fun. A perfectly relaxing way to celebrate the end of the working week.




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