A true Turkish style feast, Dolmabahce really is as exotic as it sounds.
Tired of all the options in Masdar City, I decided to check out the Al Raha branch yesterday. I was a little surprised at how close this place is to home/work, and maybe also a little disappointed that I hadn’t come across it earlier. Admittedly, I haven’t had much Turkish food before, although I expected it to be similar to Lebanese – kebabs/hummus, etc. The decor reflects the grandeur of Ottoman heritage, with high ceilings, intricate designs and portraits of presumably famous figures from history.
We started off by ordering the Rocket salad, known as the Cevizli Roka Salatasi Nar Eksisi Esliginde, and Hummus. We were given freshly baked bread to accompany our appetizers. I really enjoyed munching on the rocket salad while waiting for the mains – the rocket leaves were fresh and crunchy, and the pomegranate seeds and sauce added a combination of sweet and tangy. I appreciated that the walnut was cut into small small pieces, and didn’t really interfere with the rest of the contents (I’m not typically one for dry fruit in my salad or dessert). The hummus was great, as you’d expect at a Mediterranean restaurant in this region, but the portion was too small.
The entrance of the mains was the highlight for me. As I sat patiently waiting, the servers (I don’t remember how many), brought in a 2 meter long tray and delicately placed it on our table. These were 2 meters of
heaven lamb chops, chicken cubes and the classic Iskender kebabs, served with grilled tomatoes, onions and green chilis. The mixed grill also came with rice, which I did not try. While the minced kebabs were juicy and reminiscent of the best kebabs you have had, I wish the lamb chops were not as well done. They were still delicious, although I wish we had ordered a yogurt dip to go with them, especially the tandoori-esque chicken cubes.
I thought our food took a while to come, but its freshness was well worth the wait. Although polite, the servers could have been slightly more enthusiastic and smile-y. I do think I my favorite restaurants’ list may just have gotten longer, although I’d like to see this place a little busier/happening. If you’re around the area looking for mouthwatering Mediterranean food, here’s the place to go!