My journey with Turkish cuisine only began in 2015, when I worked alongside a Turkish chef at a former workplace. He was there as part of a month-long promotion of the cuisine of Turkey. That chef is Ahmet Akpinar, the owner of The Mediterranean Deli Turk, located on level one of Far East Plaza.
Although I have known Chef Ahmet for seven years, this was the first time I paid a visit to his restaurant.
I can still remember that my first-ever experience with Turkish food was pistachio baklava, which is a dessert made of phyllo dough, finely crushed pistachios, butter, and a simple syrup— it made me an instant Turkish food fan!
Needless to say, I was excited with my first ever Turkish food review. Rest assured, though, that I was professional and brutally honest with all the food I tasted (religiously following our culture at Sethlui.com).
What I tried at The Mediterranean Deli Turk
My dining partners and I decided to start things off with something simple and light. We had the Yaprak Sarma (S$12), which is a traditional dish in Turkey of grape vine leaves rolled and stuffed with fillings. This filling is usually minced meat but the vegan version at The Mediterranean Deli Turk uses rice and Turkish herbs instead.
It came with five rolls accompanied by tomato slices and lemon wedges. The acidity of the lemon juice provided a refreshing kick to the Yaprak Sarma. I found the taste of the leaf very unique and herbaceous. The rice filling had a nice texture and the Turkish herbs provided an aromatic flavour to it— good job Chef Ahmet, you nailed my first course!
The next dish was Meze Platter (S$18.90), which came with a basket of Turkish pita bread and six types of dips that were the chef’s choice.
The dips consisted of ezme salad (minced fresh vegetables), shuka shuka (grilled eggplant and capsicum in tomato paste sauce), cauliflower salad, hummus, baba ganoush (grilled eggplant dip) and taze fasulya (slow cooked green beans with tomato and herbs).
The ezme salad was a refreshing rendition of a tomato salsa, but with the addition of diced walnuts, capsicum and cucumber. The cauliflower salad was one of my favourites. It had a thick layer of garlic yoghurt coating the baked cauliflower— I wished I had more of it!
I haven’t had baba ghanoush before and am glad I tried it at The Mediterranean Deli Turk. It had the right blend of spices and seasoning, which enhanced the aroma and taste of the roasted eggplant.
The Turkish pita bread was the perfect vessel for all of the dips. It was soft yet slightly chewy in texture, and the sesame seeds gave it a fragrant nutty kick— hands down, it was one of the best breads I’ve eaten recently.
We moved on to the Turkish version of a pizza, Lamb Pide (S$19.90). It came on a longboard shaped like a boat. The pide bread was filled with black and white sesame seeds that were baked together in the dough, and had a minced lamb filling with cheese on top.
I was in love with the soft texture of the pide bread, just like the pita bread I had earlier on. The lamb filling was tender with just the right amount of cheese which made this pizza nice and light.
The next dish was Caravan (S$19.90). It came with slices of grilled beef lying on top of a bed of eggplant mash, which was flavoured with garlic and yoghurt. Pieces of pita bread, grilled green chillies and cherry tomatoes lined the circumference of the dish.
The beef slices were tender and well-perfumed with the spices in which it was marinated. The grilled green chillies were surprisingly not spicy at all, and the charred smoky flavours matched really well with the eggplant mash and pita bread— it tasted like a satisfying Turkish canape when I paired everything together.
A Turkish meal wouldn’t be complete without trying their dessert. We ordered the Künefe (S$14.90). Upon arrival, my dining partners who’ve never eaten this dish before thought that it was crispy burnt bee hoon served with milk— I nearly died laughing!
It’s actually kidayif (finely shredded phyllo dough) that’s layered with cheese and soaked in sugar syrup. It’s dusted with a layer of crushed pistachio powder and crunchy almonds, and served with clotted cream.
This was my third time trying Künefe in all my makan adventures, and it’s likely one of the best versions that I’ve eaten. Unlike my previous experience which gave me an overload of sugar syrup in my mouth, The Mediterranean Deli Turk’s rendition wasn’t overly sweet and the crispy fine pastry soaked up the velvety unctuous sauce really well— I’ll be dreaming about this dessert for days!
I don’t need to travel down to the Arab Street district just to get my hands on Turkish food in future.
With the availability of the offerings served at The Mediterranean Deli Turk in the heart of Orchard Road, I’m sure I’ll be heading over there often just to get another plate of Künefe all by myself— no sharing allowed!
Expected damage: S$13 – S$30 per pax
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