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Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's nobody's business but the Turks

Unfortunately my knowledge is not in fact boundless, and Turkish food is one of the many things I am quite ignorant about (like rugby, and imperial units). In my defence there isn't exactly an overabundance of Turkish restaurants in Perth beyond the usual takeaway döner kebab and gözleme places, and these days I'm not the late night kebab consumer that I once was. I was pretty happy therefore to learn about a new Turkish restaurant located quite conveniently in Subiaco, called Alaturka.

According to their website Alaturka is pronounced "a la too ka". Does this mean I have been pronouncing "Turkey" wrong? Should it be "too kee"? Mind you, Turkey probably isn't even called Turkey in Turkish (nope, is called Türkiye apparently). I've had an issue with this for a while. If a place is called Torino or Göteborg or Nihon then I think everyone should call it that. It shouldn't be changed to Turin or Gothenburg or Japan just so us Angophones can get our tongues around it. This would also do away with the English word "Dutch", which is "Nederlands" in Dutch (erm, in Nederlands, I mean), and prevent that confusing period when you first learn about this Deutschland place when you're young and assume it means Dutchland, until you make some remark showing your ignorance and someone mockingly corrects you.

Before I can rule the world and bring about such changes however, I must first gather my strength and what better way to do it than with food. Türkçe food.

Bar and small portion of the interior of Alaturka

Walking into Alaturka, you can tell that some effort and expense has clearly gone into the interior design and it has a clean, modern feel. I'm not entirely a fan of the backless pouf style seats through about half of the restaurant, though they do get me reminiscing about the good old days of whiling away far too many hours parked up on good old backless milk crates at friends' places, having been beaten to the couches by other whilerawayerers (and then having those damn milk crate marks on your legs if you happened to be wearing anything too short).

After taking our seats we were greeted by a very friendly young man who talked us through the menu briefly, suggesting we go for "Sicak meze tabagi - an assortment plate of hot mezze dishes" ($17.50 for one person, $32.50 for two people) and "Ekmekli dipler tabağı - fresh Turkish bread and trio of dips" ($10.90) to start. He then talked up the "Alaturka Ev mantısı - home made lamb mince and onion filled pasta topped with a garlic yoghurt, buttered tomato paste and sumak spice" ($21.50) for main, telling us his Mother had just made them today. We went with his suggestion for starters, but my friend chose the "Köfte - 5 spice seasoned lamb mince köfte patties grilled and served with pilav rice and garlic yoghurt" ($25.90) for his main while I chose the "Saç kavurma - tender lamb pieces casseroled with fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs served with pilav rice" ($27.90). We must have been in suggestible moods this evening because we also followed our waiter's next suggestion to also order "Çoban Salatası - shepherds salad with Lebanese cucumber, tomato, red onion and olives" ($9.50) to accompany our mains.

We both tried to order our food using the Turkish names, and while my friend was capable of saying köfte fairly easily I was a little confused by the funny c with a squiggle under it which I thought was a soft s sound like in French, but apparently has a "ch" sound in Turkish (like the c in cello as Wikipedia slightly helpfully puts it). I could only hope the chef was a more capable butcher with the lamb than I proved myself to be of the Turkish language.

While we waited for our food we got some free entertainment in the form of a group of lady patrons who were obviously enjoying a night out without their husbands. It would be fair to say these ladies would definitely be suffering from those annoying marks should they happen to sit on any milk crates, though they did not strike me as the milk crate sitting type. I actually heard them refer to themselves as "yummy mummies". It was a good thing I had not yet eaten.

"Ekmekli dipler tabağı - fresh Turkish bread and trio of dips" and "Sicak meze tabagi - an assortment plate of hot mezze dishes"

The arrival of our starters soon stole our attention away from our fellow diners as we investigated our mezze plate. Our friendly waiter told us the various components - dressed lettuce and Mediterranean olives, fried Turkish sausage, baked eggplant, chicken and lamb köfte drizzled with garlic yoghurt, stuffed mushrooms and two feta and parsley pastries. To be honest, I was disappointed when I saw this somewhat sparse looking plate, particularly the three tiny mushrooms, as I was expecting more given the cost of the dish (I assume this was the plate for two and thus was $32.50).

My disappointment continued somewhat as we ate our way through the plate. I started with a pastry, which I didn't finish as I found it quite oily and somewhat doughy inside, without any apparent feta or parsley flavour. This was counteracted nicely with the tasty mushrooms, though they were quite small, a little dried out and annoyingly there were three of them for the two of us. I am very happy to say that both types of köfte were well spiced and beautifully juicy, and I knew that my friend was in for a good dish with his choice of main. I love eggplant but I did not enjoy this thin little morsel as it tasted far too smoky for my liking, though my friend happily polished it off. The Turkish sausage was good - quite mild tasting at first but with a great hit of heat at the end, and the olives and salad were quite nice as well and gave a needed freshness to the plate.

So, overall the Sicak meze tabagi had some nice components but I didn't like others, and found it poor value for value so would not order it again.

I was not at all disappointed with the Turkish bread and dips, of which there were actually four instead of the promised trio. The bread was fresh and tasty with a nice hint of outer crispness, and all four dips were delicious. I could not stop dipping into the beetroot and cucumber dip which was beautifully garlicky, I loved the chunkiness of the hommus, and the carrot dip was quite refreshing with the freshness of carrot and sweetness of pickled onion.

"Köfte - 5 spice seasoned lamb mince köfte patties grilled and served with pilav rice and garlic yoghurt"

"Saç kavurma - tender lamb pieces casseroled with fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs served with pilav rice"

My friend's main dish köfte were as good as those in the tasting plate - well seasoned, juicy and tender and the garlic yoghurt went well with them. My saç kavurma certainly looked delicious served in the pan, and the I really enjoyed it - the lamb was cooked perfectly and thus was delightfully tender. When my friend asked what it tasted like however, my immediate response was "just like it looks" as it was missing a wow factor although it certainly was tasty, wholesome and comforting with a heavy tomato flavour overtone. The pilav rice was nice but not good enough to devote stomach space to over the remains of the Turkish bread and dips.

"Çoban Salatası - shepherds salad with Lebanese cucumber, tomato, red onion and olives"

The Çoban Salatası was very fresh and offered a nice balance to our meat-heavy main dishes, though I was a little tomatoed out by the end of mine!

After a bit of a breather we consulted the menu again to eye off the dessert options. My friend settled on the "Keşkül - dairy milk pudding with chocolate swirls topped with crushed pistachio" ($7.50) without too much difficulty but I could not decide between the "Revani - home made semolina cake served with vanilla ice cream" ($8.50) and the "Lokum tabağı - The original Turkish delight plate" (serves 2, $12.50). I ended up having to toss a coin to decide, and fate decided that it was going to be a Turkish delight night for me.

"Keşkül - dairy milk pudding with chocolate swirls topped with crushed pistachio" and "Lokum tabağı - The original Turkish delight plate"

On the menu the Keşkül is described as having a "dollop of ice cream optional" which apparently actually means you have to opt out of the ice cream option if you don't want it. I didn't try any of the surprise ice cream but the pudding was smooth, cool, not overly sweet and quite enjoyable to eat. It was also a generous size, and my friend was not able to finish it.

I wasn't much help with finishing his dessert either, given that my choice of dessert serves two! It was ten or more pieces of multiple varieties of Turkish delight, sourced from an unnamed maker in Melbourne, and I got through a few before asking for a box to take the rest home in. OK, I'll admit it, I could actually have eaten more in the restaurant but I really wanted to get them home, sliced in half and photographed in decent lighting. 

Turkish Delight bonanza - vanilla, chocolate and coconut, double roasted pistachio, nougat and coconut, orange, rose and hazelnut and coconut.

All of the Turkish delight varieties were really very good. My love affair with all things coconut made the coconut covered ones particularly special, although admittedly the coconut tended to overpower the more subtle flavours. While I really enjoyed seeing and tasting the different types of Turkish delight, I have to say that the traditional rosewater ones were lovely lovely lovely, hard to go past and bursting with the fragrant rose flavour (or tasting like soap, as my housemate so beautifully put it).

To sum up my Alaturka experience, I would say that we enjoyed ourselves and will return, but are not rushing to do so. The service was great and the choice of music was actually really good too, and perhaps if we had chosen a different starter than sicak meze tabagi my overall feeling would be more enthusiastic.

I am very interested to try the Turkish pasta, and would be keen to hear what it is like if any of you happen to try it yourselves.The highlight of our meal this time were definitely the köfte, which I may go back to have during lunchtime, perhaps taking a box of Turkish delight home with me afterwards... to make another Shishkebab Delight (I could not help myself!).

Shishkebab delight

Alaturka Cuisine
420 Hay Street, Subiaco
Phone: 08 9388 9029
Email: goodfood@alaturka.com.au
Website: http://www.alaturka.com.au/
Opening Hours: Mon - Sun, 9:30am - 10:00pm

Alaturka Cuisine on Urbanspoon


Hannah March 21, 2010 at 3:52 AM  

Thank you Conor! So many laughs, right when I needed them :) And a linguistics lesson too - wonderful!

I'm also really intrigued by the Turkish Delight, because I've never liked it (tastes like soap). But these look like different flavours, and therefore I want...

Karen Harris March 21, 2010 at 4:54 AM  

Very funny, and I think you know how much I like a good laugh with good food. Coincidentally enough, I working on a Turkish style dish for a cooking competition I am entering, so your post came at just the right time to give me an idea or two. By the way, I think there are two types of Turkish delight people; rose lovers and rose haters. Personally I belong to the latter, so I'm always the first to grab the lemon.

Mark @ Cafe Campana March 21, 2010 at 4:57 AM  

Conor, seems like an interesting evening. I think Turkish food is great. It has a really wide variety of textures and flavours. I can never keep myself away from dips. I always eat way too much.

Rose March 21, 2010 at 6:34 AM  

I love Turkish food but I have to admit to being a bit ignorant about them as well. I reckon that starter is really overpriced - you need to get yourself down to Sydney and get down with some cheap Turkish eats (though I guess the plane ticket will negate that though?)

Megan D March 21, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

I do love a bit of Turkish food. It's such a shame the Cedar Tree in Freo closed down, you would have loved it there! I hear there's a Gypsy Bar tapas type place in Freo now tho, am dying to check it out!

Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz March 21, 2010 at 8:16 AM  

Nice experience....makes me proud...like if you were still in Cheap Eatz lol. Sorry it did not knock your sox off. But the Turkish Delights pics...bravo

Annette @ Wellness WA March 21, 2010 at 9:49 AM  

Ooooh. I love turkish bread. I could possibly eat a whole loaf in a day so I try not to buy too much of it because I usually do this!

I love slicing it in half, toasting it in the oven, then eating it with strawberry jam & cream cheese. So good.

I think the plate for two looks shonky as well, those mushrooms are PUNY!

It would be good to know the overall spend at the restaurants you go to Conor, at the end of the article! :)

Devan March 21, 2010 at 9:50 AM  

"While my friend was capable of saying köfte fairly easily I was a little confused by the funny c with a squiggle under it which I thought was a soft s sound like in French, but apparently has a "ch" sound in Turkish (like the c in cello as Wikipedia slightly helpfully puts it)." LOL classic. I'm impressed that you actually got all the "squiggles" and "i" characters without the dots when describing all the dishes!

Some of my friends have dined at Alaturka and have mentioned that the food was nothing too special - lack of pizzazz, and just ok.

I must admit that although the mezze plate looks well presented, there ain't a lot of stuff on there. $32.50 is way overpriced.

Thanks for an entertaining read. It's brightened up my morning :)

mademoiselle délicieuse March 21, 2010 at 11:53 AM  

Conor, I share your annoyance with the Anglicisation of renaming of non-English place names! For example, is Roma too hard to pronounce? It's a case of respecting another's culture and language.

No one should ever refer to themselves as yummy in any sort of context and most definitely not in public *faint*

But I'm glad you had a good time exploring Turkish food nonetheless as I don't think there's much of it near where I live either!

Trissa March 21, 2010 at 1:50 PM  

Hmm... overall a mixed review? Might give this a miss when I'm in Perth... or get a takeaway of the turkish delights!

Sarah Vino March 21, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

Very swave Turkish restaurant! Oh and I LOVE Tookish Delights!! That coconut with the rosewater and pecan in the middle looks delish!

pTsaldari March 21, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

The milk crate parts kept me in stitches as well as the yummy mummies! I could just picture them. You are too funny!

Loved your site, found it refreshing and most entertaining since I am Greek and can well appreciate the Ottoman delicacies. I was so happy that for the most part your dining experience was favorable. Anatolian foods have a wonderful mystic to them if prepared properly. As for the Turkish Delight, it happens to be one of my favorite sweets, which I prepare myself. I use Mastic as my core flavoring.

Had a great time visiting with you at Alaturka!
Take care,
Penelopi & Gabriella

denise @ quickies on the dinner table March 21, 2010 at 5:30 PM  

Love, love, love Turkish bread and dips! Pity you had a mixed experience - and the price of that starter borders on criminal! Love the Turkish delight kebab photos and your very entertaining review :)

Trisha March 21, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

Shishkebab turkish delights? I'm in I'm in!!!! ALways always love Turkish food which is great as we have loads of authentic Turkish places here in Australia - gotta love it!

Simply Life March 21, 2010 at 7:33 PM  

Wow! What a great selection of food!

Rachel@Coconut Crumbs March 21, 2010 at 8:25 PM  

I really enjoyed this post, thank you! So which one is that pink dip? Everything looks great, but the Coban Salatasi looks like something I might try at home! Love the turkish delight, love the crushed pistachios on the pudding. overall, yum!

Natasha March 21, 2010 at 9:35 PM  

Good review! I'd never eaten in a Turkish restaurant before, this is like a sneak preview. The beetroot dip looks delish though and also the kofte! I'm amazed you remembered all the dishes name right up to the exact squiggle and funny spelling haha well done :)

Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com March 21, 2010 at 10:18 PM  

First, this was hilarious to read. Second, I'd love that lamb casserole with tomatoes and herbs. And the turkish delights look positively delicious. Your photography of the pieces cut open is beautiful! Thanks for the great recap of dinner and dessert. A fun read.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 21, 2010 at 10:33 PM  

Hannah - you're welcome!! I hear that laughter fixes sore toes quick smart :) Ahh yes well I think that you would like at least one of these for sure. There were lots of un-soapy ones. Dirty ones, if you will ;)

Karen Harris - thanks, yes I do :D Brilliant, am looking forward to seeing your creation. I'll be sure to save you some non-soapy bits next time :)

Mark @ Cafe Campana - I hear you! I'm terrible with dips, I cannot be trusted to not eat the whole lot myself.

Rose - we should go out eating Turkish together and make complete fools of ourselves then. You know, I've only been to Sydney once for a single day when I was 17, so I really need to get myself over there for a proper visit! Cheap Turkish is yet another reason to do so.

Megan D - Gypsy Bar you say? I gotta spend more time in Freo. Let me know if you need an eating companion!

Evelyne @ CheapEthnicEatz - aww thanks Mum!! :D

Annette @ Wellness WA - Like with dips, I cannot be trusted with Turkish bread either, especially when it's fresh and warm, oh god. Strawberry jam and cream cheese on toasted Turkish bread sounds divine. It's just as well I don't have any nearby right now. Excellent suggestion about the overall spend, thank you! I shall include it in the future :)

Devan - ahhh, the magic of copying and pasting :D Yes I think your friends summed it up pretty well. It was mostly quite enjoyable food but nothing really amazing. Very glad to be a morning brightener :)

mademoiselle délicieuse - excellent, I'm so glad you share this too!! If we can have a Roma in Queensland then surely we can accept a Roma in Italy!

Trissa - Yes, mixed would be a good way to put it. No, I wouldn't suggest you use up one of your precious meals here when you visit but maybe if you're in the area you could pick up some snacking material :)

Sarah Vino - Haha! Tookish Delights, awesome!

p Tsaldari - :) thank you! I am definitely keen to continue my education in this cuisine, and I think my tummy will be happy for it. Wow, I'd love to try some of your Turkish Delight, perhaps I should try my hand at it myself.

denise @ quickies on the dinner table - it's pretty much impossible to stop eating Turkish bread and dips until it's all gone, right? Thanks so much! :)

Trisha - They were sticky little suckers to get on that stick, I can tell you! I think I should market them though, how could anyone resist? Well, anyone who doesn't think they taste like soap, I guess.

Simply Life - I'm looking forward to trying even more selections of Turkish food! Watch this space :)

Rachel@Coconut Crumbs - thank you very much! The pink one is beetroot and cucumber, and it was delicious. Couldn't stop eating it. How I wish I still had some Turkish Delight left... it's remarkable how quickly it disappeared, even with a non-Turkish Delight eating housemate :)

Natasha - thanks! They certainly were highlights of the meal. Oh luckily for my Forgetful Jones self they have all this written on their website, hehe.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 21, 2010 at 10:34 PM  

Andrea @ CanYouStayForDinner.com - thank you very much! The lamb was cooked perfectly, and the Turkish Delight was too moreish for its own good. Thank you :D

Belle@Ooh, Look March 22, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

You're so good to try and pronounce the dishes in Turkish; I get embarrassed when I encounter a menu in a different language and I just point and say 'I'll have that, thanks'.
And 3 cheers for the turkish delightful kebab :)

Renee March 22, 2010 at 2:28 PM  

Your main meal looks soooo good and I LOVE turkish delight! this place looks interesting! Am i right to say Lebanese food is similar to Turkish? We LOVE the prophet in vic park- have you been there?!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 22, 2010 at 5:18 PM  

I can't claim much expertise on Turkish food too except for that I'm an enthusiastic eater of it! Ahh Turkish Delight, how easily I can down 8 pieces of you :P

Anonymous March 22, 2010 at 9:37 PM  

I love turkish delight, and when you skewered it into a colourful kebab, it makes it just 100% Aussie right now. :)

I'm so glad the meal picked up from the disappointing starters. The main you had looks really good on a chilly night!

Anonymous March 22, 2010 at 10:04 PM  

Very interesting dinner! The Turkish bread and dips sound great and I would love a taste of that neat dessert kebab!

Mr. P March 23, 2010 at 3:20 AM  

Want that kebab! Loads. There's probably better things to eat off a stick than Turkish Delight. But I can't think of any right now.

Your tobiko comment on my blog made me laugh. Sanjana says he was a vegetarian. But I'd still do it. If we piss St. David off, well, at least it was with a sense of culinary experimentation in our hearts!

Pam March 23, 2010 at 11:26 AM  

What a unique and fun dining experience. I've never had Turkish food, it looks really interesting. The shishkebab delight does look tasty.


You are welcome to come live with us but you'll have to share a room with my 7 year old daughter or 4 year old son - you pick. :-)

Food lover March 23, 2010 at 12:28 PM  

Love the turkish delights, specially the shiskebab!

Anonymous March 23, 2010 at 3:24 PM  

Oh my!!!! Shishkebab delight. I need the skewer :)

penny aka jeroxie March 23, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

Shishkebab delight - I want! BUt not too sure about the yummy mummies....

Krissy @ The Food Addicts March 24, 2010 at 3:33 AM  

what a wonderful turkish cuisine you had! i've never had the pleasure of eating turkish food, but it sure looks appealing. i'll have to see where i can find a turkish restaurant around here.

A cupcake or two March 24, 2010 at 5:28 PM  

The Kavurma looks delicious. Oh I love everything slow cooked. The turkish delight shish kebab is so cool. So many vibrant colours.

Cakelaw March 25, 2010 at 6:14 AM  

Yummo!! The Saç kavurma and turkish delight are calling my name. So many flavours of turkish delight, so little time ...

Beaufort Street Bloggers March 25, 2010 at 1:16 PM  

Hi Conor

Great review, thanks.

I went to Alturka with a friend last night, and pretty much agree with your summary. Despite your caution we had the hot mezze plate and while i think they've beefed it up a bit, it still wasn't worth the money. The filled Turkish pasta with lamb mince was amazing though, a real highlight.

We had a couple of complaints - our main dishes came out cold, and as no one came to check on us after we received them we just ate them cold. We also got pretty average service towards the end of the night (we had a lovely friendly guy at the beginning, then a total space-cadet at the end). Our unfinished food was left in front of us for 30 minutes until she came and asked if we wanted her to collect them.

We thought that it would do well in a more cosy cafe environment, I was thinking a set up like Il Circollo. The big restaurant-style space seems too formal for the kind of food on offer. Also, the price, it was $90 a head for the 2 of us to eat a shared entree, a main each, and a couple of the cheaper bottles of wine.

I love Turkish food and loved enjoyed the food that was on offer, but don't think I'll be back in a hurry - too many gaps in the service and ambience.

And Alturka, if you're reading this: please, buy a new ladies' toilet seat, they're only a few bucks from Bunnings.

One of the Beaufort Street Bloggers.

Bigarade March 25, 2010 at 10:19 PM  

What a review!
& that turkish delight looks heavenly!!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 26, 2010 at 11:04 PM  

Belle@Ooh,Look - I'm normally embarrassed as well, after many encounters of trying to say something and being met with a confused look, but the waiter was really friendly so I thought I'd have a bit of a stab. Thanks!

Renee - my impression is that Lebanese and Turkish food are pretty similar, though perhaps some Lebanese and Turkish people would disagree with me. No, I have not been there but the friend I went to Alaturka with has been many times and promises to take me with him soon.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - oh, make it 9! :D

vickys - haha, thanks mate! Yes would definitely have to agree with you - apart from the warming food you could also warm your hands on that dish :)

5 Star Foodie - too easy to keep popping them in your mouth this way!

Mr. P - no it's mine it's mine! Oh go on then, just have a little bit. And excellent, glad to have made you laugh. I guess vegetarians can still eat eggs, right? So maybe he'd be up for some fish egg action? Still, I guess I don't want to be responsible for us being smited (smited? smote? smitten? haha)

Pam - I am looking forward to learning more about Turkish food, I think it will be a tasty education. Oooh excellent!! Umm, I think I'll choose your daughter. We can do each other's hair but not sure we can share dresses unless she's a remarkably tall 7 year old :)

Food lover - me too! Wish I had some now (yes, despite the huge bowl of ice cream I just made disappear)

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) - you and me both, sister ;) 'tis long gone!

penny aka jeroxie - truer words were never spoken

Krissy @ The Food Addicts - I hope you can try some soon, complete with over-the-top Turkish delight feast for dessert :)

A cupcake or two - I'm a huge fan of slow cooking too, which is keeping me from being too woeful about impending cold weather. I just keep thinking of lamb shanks to get me through the cold thoughts :)

Cakelaw - me too! I wish they'd shut up already :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 26, 2010 at 11:10 PM  

Beaufort Street Bloggers - ah brilliant, thanks for the detailed comment! So, perhaps I'll need to get back there to try the Turkish pasta then. I suspected it may well be a highlight. Still, cold pasta doesn't sound terribly appealing, and looking at the remnants of your meal gets pretty old after 10 minutes or so.
Too funny about your space cadet comment - we also had a space cadet at the end, but it was a male version. His service was pretty good though, the space cadetness was more a highly entertaining personality trait.
Your comment about the environment is on the money, I completely agree with you. It seems like there is a disconnect between the style of food, the price, and the decor.
I'm also really glad I didn't have to go to the toilet when I was there. I'm not sure I want to know what was wrong with the seat.

Bigerade - thank you! It certainly was :)

Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday) March 27, 2010 at 8:51 AM  

oh. my. god. shish kebab delight. best. idea. ever!

wannabegourmand March 29, 2010 at 4:29 PM  

I dined at Alaturka when it first opened up and I'm sad to say that it was equally disappointing for me. I had such high expectations of the place as the proprietor is himself Turkish and the chef I believe was to be his mother. Maybe it is just the lack of experience at churning out food of restaurant quality and quantity but my koftes were so dry they made my local kebab shop owner look like Heston Blumenthal.

As for the service, the proprietor was also the former owner of Arirang (the korean bbq restaurant that was previously there) and part of the problem may be that he has not reemployed new staff(hence their service skills may have be limited to dumping raw meat on the table and disappearing).

Maybe I'm still reeling from the closure of Eminem in Nedlands....no turkish food has compared since.

Ps. Great blog, I hope you don't mind me linking to it!


Conor @ HoldtheBeef March 30, 2010 at 11:14 PM  

Kat (Spatula, Spoon and Saturday) - Thank you!! I think I should start up a shish kebab delight business judging from the reaction I've got to this :D

wannabegourmand - Oh dear, sounds like I actually had a reasonably experience then. The koftes we had were really very good, and lifted the whole experience, so I feel for you if yours were so dry! Although, I am quite taken by the idea of Heston Blumenthal being your local kebab shop owner :)

Thanks for the background into the restaurant. I am very sad to say I did not visit Eminem before it disappeared forever, although it is probably a good thing that I do not know what I am missing. Not sure I agree with the whole 'better to have loved than lost' thing.

Thanks so much, I am very happy for your linkage and am looking forward to reading your blog when I find some time this week to catch up on the blog reading I'm falling behind with!

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My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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