Our regular followers will know of our love for Turkey; we have been holidaying there for about five years, it’s a home from home and we pretty much love everything about the place; the people, the weather and of course the fantastic food and drink. Cue obvious picture of bottle of lovely Turkish beer.
Cafe Istanbul has therefore become our little escape; the nearest thing we have to being in Turkey without getting on a plane. We’ve been going for about three years, amazing how we never actually visited before we’d been to Turkey!
Before we went on holiday to Turkey last month, I was lucky enough to win lunch for two from a Twitter competition; so on Bank Holiday Monday we took advantage of a rare day off for Mrs B and went down. The sad thing, I don’t know if it was because it was Bank Holiday, was the restaurant was totally empty apart from us, yet we wandered through Spinningfields and it was buzzing, The Oasthouse in particular full of people eating and drinking.
At Cafe Istanbul the lunch menu consists of either a combo platter or a two course choice. Mrs B went for the larger platter which had nine different dishes as part of it including turkish sausage, lamb balls, vine leave & aubergine salad. The sausage was spicy and went well with the dips. the stuffed vine leaves are a favourite of mine too. overall the platter worked well as a taster of everything spicy, crispy, fresh, cooling and rich all together.
My lunch consisted of an enormous bowl of humus with pitta bread and then slow-cooked lamb to follow. My new-found love for humus thanks to Mrs B meant I was piling it high on my pitta breads, but as with pate or soup or anything else you need bread for, there is never enough, not even close.
Then I was greeted with a plate of slow-cooked paprika lamb in a red wine & onion sauce and enough rice to feed a family. Juicy tender lamb, with a lovely sweet flavour from the paprika. I finished it all, onions, rice, salad, the lot; you’ll know from me this is a rare occurrence! It was as close to eating on the coastline in Altinkum as I’m going to get.
Now comes the big shock; despite a very filling main I had dessert! Of course being in a Turkish restaurant I had to had baklava, which didn’t disappoint. A very large plate of light fluffy pastry, sweet chocolate sauce and sticky pistachio filling. I let Mrs B eat my strawberries; as good as Cafe Istanbul is, fruit still isn’t on my menu!
Between the two of us it would have cost a lot less than £30 for this lunch, which to be honest is a bargain for the amount and quality of food you get. I’ve not even mentioned the fabulous service you get every visit here, the team are so friendly and cannot do enough for you. Visiting brings back different memories and fantastic food every time so we’ll come back again and again.