I recollect wonderful memories from my trip to Istanbul years ago. It has been one of my most unforgettable vacations as mentioned in my BBC Good Food Middle East article. When news hit that a new “authentic” Turkish restaurant was soon to open in Dubai, you can understand my elation.
Turkish Village Restaurant & Café situated in Jumeirah-1 is a little Istanbul in Dubai. The beautiful designed restaurant resembles the Ottoman Empire and the architecture of Turkey with bold pillars and a blend of dark and light colors.
The walls are adorned with what resembles the “evil eye” which is every so evident all around Turkey. A blue light sets the tone for the restaurant at night; as blue is a dominant color of the evil eye.
The menu is true to Turkish cuisine with the Executive Chef Mustafa Demirhan hailing from Istanbul with nearly 40 years of experience!
I craved for the Turkish drink which I once quenched my thirst after a mid-day walk at the souk in Istanbul. Ayran – a yogurt based drink similar to the Indian lassi or the Iranian doogh at the Turkish Village was exactly what I remembered it to be: creamy, foamy and a semi salted drink.
In comparison, Turkish cuisine boasts a variety of mezze, from leafy salads, to use of eggplants, tomatoes and various fresh vegetables that create flavorsome Turkish salads adorned with gleaming dressings. The grape leaves, Sheppard’s salad, and the Turkish labneh and yogurt with purslane are just a few tasted that provided a brilliant start to a hearty meal at TVR.
Steaming freshly baked Turkish bread (pita) made rounds at the table from the kitchen every 20 minutes. The deliciously soft and warm bread was baked coated with an egg wash, topped with sesame and nigella seeds.
The Doner Kebab, a Turkey staple dish was slow cooked with the succulent meat gleaming in its natural juices and fat, perfectly cooked and seasoned accompanied with a rice pilaf.
The Meter Craze
A meter long Etliekmek: konya bread with mince lamb mixture was one of the stars of the night as the buttery mince meat and, the subtle spices with the crisp bread soaking the flavors of the meat.
The meter long Urfa Kebab, a less spicy version of the Adana Kebab is what dreams are made off. The sizable kebab is enough to share between 2-4 people made with meat imported from Turkey. The meat was marinated and cooked to perfection, retaining the juiciness. The aroma was overwhelming as the kebab teased the tastebuds.
Turkey is known for its syrup and crunchy based Phyllo (filo) pastries. The Künefe made with soft cheese placed between two layers of kadayif and cooked in the copper plate was served hot with syrup, pistachios and clotted cream! Tasty and unlike from the various Kunafas available in Dubai! The crispy texture and taste was ever so present with each bite of the Baklavas served at TVR.
The experience at TVR was exceptional with keen detail to service as the server worked in tune with each other as the food glistened and spoke for itself with each satisfying bite.
Check out my contemporary Turkish cuisine experience at Zurna | Dubai