The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 4 July 2008

Turkish @ Ahmet's, Brisbane (Australia)

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Brisbane for a few days to attend a wedding. On our first evening in Brisbane, Rob's dad and his then-bride-to-be, Liz, brought us, Tess (Rob's aunt) and Chris (Liz's son) to a gorgeously decorated Turkish restaurant called Ahmet's located in Southbank of Brisbane. This was where Rob's dad and his then-fiancee enjoyed their first date, so it was a pretty special place for them.

The interior of the restaurant is very colorful with lavish Turkish ornaments, table cloths and patterned cushions. It's no surprise then to see that Ahmet's won the "Best Themed Restaurant" award in the Brisbane Restaurant and Catering Queensland awards for three years in a row. This restaurant is quite large, which is good if you have a large group or if you want to hold functions at this restaurant. However, given its size, it would be necessary for the restaurant to be adequately staffed to ensure prompt and attentive service. Even though this was a week night, the restaurant had a good number of patrons and we found that sometimes it was difficult to get the attention of the busy waitstaff. However, the service was friendly and polite, which is always nice to have. The menu offered plenty of Turkish grub, mostly meat but also vegetarian options are available. There are soups for around AU$10, platters of meze (Turk finger food) ranging in price from AU$15 to $23, pide (open-baked Turkish bread with toppings aka Turkish pizza) around AU$20, guvec (Turkish casseroles) for around AU$22, and char-grilled items like lamb cutlets and shish between AU$24 and $30. Of course, the usual Turkish items like moussaka, iskender and kebabs are also available.

As usual, Rob and his dad have eyes that are bigger than their stomachs, and they went for the Ahmet's Sultan (Prince) Feast (AU$37pp) (dad-in-law actually wanted the Kiral (King) Feast, but somehow we managed to talk him out of it). The 'feast' required at least four people ordering it, so Liz and Tess were roped into partaking the banquet and I got away with getting to order what I wanted (I had a taste of everything in the banquet so it wasn't like I missed out). For starters in the 'feast', Turkish bread and dips were served. There were four dips: olive, jajik (a yoghurt/cucumber mixture much like the Indian raita), hot & spicy beetroot and avocado. The avocado dip was rich, tasty and no doubt my favourite of the four. The jajik dip was my second favourite: cool, refreshing and a nice contrast to the avocado dip. And the Turkish bread was so good, reminding me of the times (when we were still living in Perth) when Rob and I would go to the nearest Turkish diner to grab a fresh and hot Turkish bread and hommus for an afternoon snack. Ah the simple things in life..

Around the same time, my order of Karidesli (Prawn) Pide (AU$21) arrived, and toppings included prawns, rocket, garlic, basil, tomato and a lemon butter glaze. Of course, I asked for the optional chilli to be included. The pide was tasty - like an Italian pizza sans cheese - albeit a tad greasy which I assume was due to the lemon butter.

Turkish Bread with 4 dips; and Karidesli Pide:

Next for the banquet were the Lamb Guvec and Chicken Guvec (slow-cooked claypot casseroles) were served with Turkish-style rice. The guvec contained the respective meat and vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, onion, carrot, potatoes and mushrooms. It was nice, even the lamb one, considering that I don't really enjoy eating lamb meat. The slow-cooking method did well to tenderise the lamb meat and remove the strong characteristic 'lambey' odor that I dislike.

The next part of the Sultan Feast was a platter of Chicken Skewers, Lamb Skewers, Lamb Cutlets and Adana (skewers of ground meat). The lamb cutlets were juicy and tender, the skewered meat were gloriously spicy, and the adana tasted just like sausages. We had this platter with Coban Salatsi, a salad with tomatoes, Spanish onion, cucumber, parsley, olives, lemon dressing and fetta cheese.

Lamb and Chicken Guvec; and the platter of meat:

The final part of the feast was the ubiquitous Turkish Delight with tea and coffee. The delights were extremely sweet - too sweet, actually - however everyone else but Rob and I seem to appreciate it. Perhaps our threshold for sweetness is a lot lower than most people's sweet tooth.

Turkish Delights for dessert:

It was a good meal with good company. It had been awhile since we ate good Turkish food, and this is another reason why we love multiculturalism in Australia.


  1. Fabulous!!!
    The picture are just fabulous! Since I`m starving right now, if this place was somewhere close to my home I would go for it immediately!

  2. Re: Fabulous!!!
    Thanks! I hope you managed to satisfy your hunger! :)