Last couple of weeks we have been discussing annual vacation options. Middle-East is right now the first on our list (I have never seen a desert and want to see one soon!), followed by Turkey or if time permits, both! And thanks to all the discussions about Turkey, I have been craving for Turkish food for some time now. I even suggested Turkish restaurant as an option for our weekly girls night out, however, a friend just returned from Turkey and I can quite imagine why that plan fizzled out. “Too much of Turkish” she said!
So, over the weekend, we planned for a Turkish Treat, at a place called Turkish Cuisine at the top floor of Suntec City. “Well it’s the best Turkish I have had,” said my husband… The place was relatively empty, on a Sunday evening, and I looked quizzically at my husband. “What do you expect? We are in an office area. Who would want to come down to the place of their work on a weekend?”
Situated in a shop, the place is quite simply decorated, with tables laid out outside the shop in the corridor, just like the other restaurants around it. We were greeted by a friendly staff who seated us and handed us two menu’s, one a proper, full menu and one “Most popular” dishes menu. It took us a good 5 to 7 minutes to go through the menu, as it is quite extensive and dishes are nicely explained.
We were in for a treat… and this is what we picked!
 Raki: I have heard a lot about this drink, but never had a chance to try it. Raki is a traditional Turkish drink which contains approximately 40% alcohol. The drink can be consumed in two separate ways. Either you can have it neat or dry (it actually looks like crystal clear water) or you can add water and/or ice cubes to it. When you add water, the drink actually changes colour and turns almost milky. In fact due to this change in colour Raki is also referred to as aslan sutu or Lion’s Milk. Since aslan (“lion”) is a Turkish colloquial metaphor for a strong, courageous man, this gives the term a meaning close to “the milk for the strong.” (courtesy Wikipedia).
Bring the drink glass closer to your lips and you get a distinct, fragrance of raw Fennel seeds or as it is popularly called in Hindi, Saunf. The fragrance is very unique, and makes for a strong, delicious drink. Quite different from the normal types of alcohol we are usually used to. Plus, it goes quite well with the Turkish food. The drink is served with few pieces of Cottage Cheese sprinkled with olive oil and a slice of ice cold watermelon.
Turkish food lends itself beautifully to amazing greens, salads and vegetarian appetizers. Hummus being their most famous appetizer. So, it’s a paradise for the vegetarian as well as the non-vegetarian eater, what with all the selection of kebabs and meats.
 Kisir: This is an extremely delicate dish of broken wheat (or daliya) mixed delicately with chopped tomatoes, parsley, spring onion, dill and topped with a sprinkle of olive oil and generous amounts of lemon juice, served on crisp and fresh lettuce. Never imagined that broken wheat tasting so beautifully delicious with the freshness of the crunchy lettuce. The delicate flavours of parsley and dill make it a mouth-watering starter.
 Shepard’s Salad with Feta Cheese: The basic cool Turkish salad comprising of cucumbers (of course), tomatoes, parsley, onions with zing of chopped green chillies mixed together with the olive oil and lemon dressing, was a great companion for the strong flavour of Raki.
 Falafel: Crisp fried veggie balls, served on a platter of smooth and delicate hummus paste, served with sprinkle of tangy pomegranate sauce and yellow and red capsicum. The pomegranate sauce was such a distinctly different taste that it went perfectly with the hummus. The falafel was made out of well-ground mixture, not oily, and gelled well with the hummus paste. It was a generous serving, in fact good enough for two! We ordered a sesame bread to go with the Falafel. A Veggie’s total delight…
 Ali Nazik: I am a huge fan of minced meet. Finely minced meat, cooked well often takes me straight to a culinary heaven. However, it is equally true that I have some really dreadful stories of tough meat to tell. Ali Nazik was my obvious choice for it was a unique minced meat dish. Lamb minced meat, sautéed with herbs and sauces was served on a bed of charcoal grilled eggplant and yogurt mixture. The trenchant brunt smell of the charcoal grilled eggplant with the coolness of soft yogurt made a delectable gravy base for the perfectly cooked minced meat. The portion here too was quite large, and good enough for two, so much so that I got to take away the left overs for lunch the next day!!
 Kunefe: They do say keep the BEST for last. Turkish Cuisine doesn’t even pretend to promote any other dessert. The Kunefe is sticking into your face with pictures placed at the table. And with good reason. The description is enough to get your salivary glands going. “Kadayif” the fine shredded pastry flakes (fine seviya) are stuffed with unsalted fresh mozzarella Cheese and baked in oven served with honey syrup and cream. It was divine. I have had Kunefe before, loads of times. Most Mediterranean restaurant serve it. But there’s was a difference and a big one at that! You have to try it to believe just how good it was!
How much will it cost me: The above dishes together cost us around S$ 85 for 2. But we definitely over ordered. We could have done with one less appetizer, and maybe just one main… as we had a ton of left-over. My suggestion, order one at a time, and take a call. Having said that 2 can enjoy a good dinner for around S$ 50 to S$ 60.
The Verdict: Just before we called for the bill, the pleasant server brought us two steaming glasses of Apple Tea and two slices of watermelon to finish the meal… complimentary he said. That extra bit of hospitality, though not huge, definitely sealed the deal for us. Good food, great service and a bill that did not dent our pockets… this is a place we would definitely return to.
There are loads of Turkish restaurants in Singapore, and I have tried quite a few of them… this by far was my best experience! A tip, avoid the place during weekends lunch, as it can get quite crowded, if you are visiting their Suntec outlet. They also have an outlet at East coast… which tilts more towards fine dining in terms of the décor, and a better option, especially for a cozy dinner for too. The menu of course remains the same.
(a) 3 Temasek Blvd #03-004 Suntec City Mall Singapore 038983. Tel: +65 6336 8082
(b) 162 Upper East Coast Road Singapore 425259. Tel: 62449891