This restaurant is like a sumptuous market with pyramids of olives, pickled cucumber, fresh onion cut into wedges and pickled turnips for relish. Still-warm pita breads are piled high and distributed lavishly for scooping up humus or baba ghannouj; and varieties of baklava are dripping with honey and layered nuts. The countertops burst with spinach pies and falafel, chocolate and hazelnut halva.
A good selection of wines, beer and spirits – try the alcoholic drink called arak. It has a high alcohol content, so water and ice are usually added to produce a drink that has been nicknamed ‘the milk of lions’.
Expert cooks, chefs and sous chefs are this cuisine’s craftmasters – turning, twisting, folding and expertly stuffing traditional delights. You may be impressed at the ongoing presence of the good-looking Arab owner who seems ever-present and personally involved at all times – it is either one or the other of identical twin brothers.
This place has no pretensions – it is the real Middle Eastern thing, straight off a faraway food street, perfectly trans-located and still genuinely dedicated to the real thing. We are lucky to have it here.
According to a Turkish proverb – ‘coffee should be black as hell, strong as death and sweet as love’. (AlK, September 2010)