Last year I received a gift voucher for Ottoman Cuisine from my boss. It stayed on my fridge for a couple of months and then I lost it.
Just when I began to despair of ever having my Ottoman Cuisine experience, I found it-yesterday, tucked in a drawer. Woohoo!
I looked at the menu and realised that my friend Michelle (who I have not caught up with in the longest time) and I could use the voucher for a degustation dinner and it would only cost us $5 out of pocket each.
We were pretty excited.
It was a drizzly 4 degrees as we walked into the restaurant. We were ushered to a table close to a heater and advised that the central heating was temporarily down.
Our waiter came very quickly and after handing us our menus, he told us the specials. There were 3 entrees on special and 2 mains the complexities of which our waiter described with poetic ease. He almost tempted us off our degustation path! But not quite. I am seriously impressed how much knowledge he retained and how well he knew the food.
When we referred to the range of specials and how well he knew them, our waiter explained that Ottoman Cuisine has had the same menu since 1992, in a nod to its loyal diners who come back for specific dishes. In order to keep being creative and innovative, the chefs also provide a wide range of specials.
After we placed our order, we were brought complimentary Turkish bread and olives in olive oil. The bread was soft and slightly spongy, the best kind. I gobbled up my share and two of Michelle’s also. Olives were yum!
First course was crispy zucchini flower filled with goat’s feta and haloumi cheese; served with a light yoghurt sauce (on the right) and char-grilled spicy mushroom with roquette salad (on the left)
This was my first zucchini flower! The delicate batter was crispy perfection . The soft goat’s cheese and haloumi filling was just divine.
Two of the world’s best cheese inventions.
The mushroom was well-seasoned and crunchy on the outside and the flesh was still firm. I wanted a plate of those suckers.
Our next course featured an item not actually on the menu: eggplant stuffed with onions, capsicum, tomato & herbs and topped with the most perfect seared scallop. (on the left)
One of my favourite dishes of the night. I am a massive fan of eggplant. It is hard to get right, and this eggplant was juicy yet firm enough to hold its filling.
The Qld king prawns pan sautéed with snow-peas, shallot pomegranate & saffron sauce ( on the right) was fresh and tender.
Also not on the menu was this palate cleanser. Oh my word! Sweet, but not too sweet…tangy!
There was lime, lemon and mint. Refreshing, like a memory of summer on our winter’s night. I want the recipe!
I thought it must be time for dessert, but no!
Plates of spatchcock, de-boned, marinated with mild spices & lemon; char-grilled, served with cracked wheat pilaf were next.
This was a lovely dish. Not my favourite of the night, but tender and rich.
The fatush salata- baby cos lettuce, tossed with lavosh, walnuts, shallots was well dressed.
My favourite part was that thin crunch of pita on the top.
Our dessert was pears poached with saffron, figs & apricots, served chilled with cardomon ice-cream. I am not fond of pears but I appreciated the delicate flavours it was poached in and ate every bite. The cardamon ice-cream and the Persian fairy floss was so delicious. I grew up with cardamom in sweets so it was my happy place.
As I sipped my Turkish coffee and Michelle drank her apple tea, we took in the décor.
Classic and timeless, and I felt I could be in Istanbul with that ceiling and the lights.
Lovely traditional flavours presented in a fresh way. I highly recommend.
Contact Ottoman cuisine here: http://www.ottomancuisine.com.au/ They must have a big function room as well as there was a large business function on when we were there.