I had seen the Turkish Istanbul restaurant whenever I passed by Mlimani City mall in Dar es Salaam and recently went in to try their cuisine.
The restaurant was established in the city about three years ago, and is owned by Ahmet Dogan, a Turk.
One Sunday afternoon, I walked in to give my taste buds a treat. Off the menu, I decided to try the Adana kebab, which is grilled minced beef mixed with fat, hot pepper powder, grilled tomato, green pepper and onion. It is served with mixed onion parsley salad and an accompaniment of flatbread or rice.
I had it with both rice and the flatbread, and it was delicious. The Turkish flatbread is made with little oil and tastes great, It went well with the minced beef.
I had a chat with Ahmet, the managing director of the restaurant, about other offerings on the menu. He offered me one of the most famous street foods in Turkey, the lahmacun pizza. Even though I was already full, I had a small portion. It was well baked with minced beef, tomato, green pepper, garlic and onion, and served with lemon.
Ahmet said they use a natural butter and yoghurt in many of their foods. The butter and yoghurt are both made in the traditional Turkish style. The local yoghurt is bitter and many people add sugar to it.
The Iskender kebab is made with chicken or beef shawarma coated in butter. It can be served with yoghurt on pita bread.
Ahmet talked about the Beyti kebab, which is grilled minced beef coated in butter and tomato sauce and wrapped in flatbread and served with grilled tomatoes, green pepper , garlic and yoghurt. It can be served with rice.
The Turkish shawarma is marinated with fewer spices compared with others.
I noted that many Turkish foods are served wrapped in flatbread and coated with butter.
Most of the Turkish food is either grilled or baked. Kebabs can be made with marinated meat and I noted that they prefer them grilled over a charcoal fire. The local kebab is deep fried in oil.
As I chatted with Ahmet, I observed that Turkish cuisine is a favourite for many people as they flocked to the restaurant.
I will certainly be back. It is ideal for a weekend outing or hanging out with friends, and even a date. My experience at Turkish Istanbul was amazing and I look forward to going back and learning more about the cuisine.