I have been meaning to write about Alaturka for ages now… It is one of my “Most frequented” places. In fact, Alaturka was the first Turkish / Mediterranean restaurant I tried after landing in Singapore two and half years ago.
This cozy little restaurant, situated on 16 Bussorah St, off Arab street has a charm of its own.
Right from the purple flower theme decorating the brick walls, to the various artifacts adorning the walls, the place has an appeal of its own.
The 50+ seater capacity restaurant has divided its seating into 3 parts. There a small enclosure of sorts right at the end of the restaurant that seats large groups. Of course, you can never get that place unless you actually reserve it… especially on the weekend. Then there are tables lined next to the walls and finally seating alfresco (if you can call it that).
What I love the most about the decor of this place is that you will be enchanted by the traditional touches…
Then it could be the beautiful ceiling lamps, or simply the evil eye or the blue ceramic clock suspended in the middle of the restaurant.
I find the chaos of various traditional pieces enamouring. This is what, I feel, gives the restaurant decor a sense of character…
Coming down to food… I have been to this restaurant so many times now, that I don’t even look at the menu anymore… These are a few of my favourites at Alaturka.
 Meze Tabagi: Whether you are in a large group of small, this dish is really a must try. It is an assortment of various mezzes or dips. There’s hummus (chickpea dip), Cacik (cucumber and yogurt salad), Haydari (herb garlic), Babakanoosh (eggplant and garlic), etc… You not only get to try the different dips, the quantity is such that it’s a dish meant for the entire table.
 Hummus: Okay, so I ordered the hummus separately, because that’s all someone at the table wanted to have… and the darling dip of the middle eastern cuisine was really good. The texture not to smooth, spices perfectly balanced… just simple and savoury…
 Coban Salata: This cold salad comprising of cucumber, feta cheese and tomatoes is extremely tasty and refreshing.
 Vegetarian Mousakka: The dish comes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. We opt for the vegetarian… the dish comprises of diced potatoes and eggplants served with vegetables and melted cheese. The dish is served on a hot stove… the dish is quite heavy… and oily too, for those counting calories, for there are a number of fried elements within… Having said that, it is equally scrumptious and vegetarians will surely enjoy it (provided you actually like eggplant).
 Lahmacun: The Turkish pizza is one of my favourite… and while meatlovers can opt for the non-veg (usually lamb) lahmacun, try Alaturka’s vegetarian lahmacun… it’s quite well made… Ground up vegetables mixed with tomato and various Middle Eastern spices are spread on a thin layer of bread (think thin crust) and baked. Though similar to thin crust pizza, there’s no cheese in Lahmacun… It’s a must try dish, either veg of non-veg.
 Lavash: A balloon bread with sesame seeds sprinkled generously served hot with the meze platter… order this even if you decide to skip the mezze… Lavash is a great accompaniment with the other dishes.
 Shish Tawook (Taouk): Up until now you would have realized, in an all Turkish place, I have not mentioned a single non-vegetarian dish… that’s because their vegetarian food is also just as good… having said that, I now turn to my favourite chicken kebab dish… the Shish Tawook… Beautifully marinated chicken is grilled to perfection (not dry, nice and juicy) and served on a skewer with pilaf, the middle-eastern rice and assorted vegetables. The aromatic rice and vegetables are a lovely combination… but the chicken really is the hero… Chicken lovers, this dish is a must try.
 Kunefe: I am slightly, okay let me not mince words here, I am extremely biased towards “Kunefe”, my most favourite dessert across cuisines… so if a restaurant serves kunefe, I do not really see any other words… And although their kunefe isn’t the best I have ever tried… it is really good. For those unfamiliar with what kunefe is, it is semolina pastry (fine seviya) served with unsalted melted fresh mozzarella Cheese and cream. It’s the perfect way to end a delightful meal.
How much will it cost me: A dinner for 2 should cost you anywhere for S$ 30 to S$ 55. It’s not frightfully expensive, and their serving sizes are quite large too… Every dish that is served is meant for sharing.
Verdict: It is not the best Turkish / Middle-eastern food I have had… but it is really good. Their cook I hear is from Turkey and it shows in the taste. The spread and variety is quite good… and there’s loads for the vegetarian palate. Their ambiance is delightful and their food delectable. If you are a fan of Turkish / Middle-eastern cuisine… you will like the place. If there is one issue with the place… it is their service. They are seriously understaffed. And while it isn’t that obvious on weekdays, on weekends you see the difference. The waiter running around, delay in taking orders and so on. But if you are patient enough to sit back and enjoy the food, you won’t regret it. One tip… if you are planning to visit it on a weekend or Public Holiday, ensure you reserve a table, cause the place is usually full.
Address: 16 Bussorah Street, Singapore. Tel: 6294 0304