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

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Revisit: Turkish @ Ahmet's, Brisbane

I haven't had many opportunities to eat Turkish food since we moved overseas from Australia 5 years ago. In fact, I am quite certain that the very few times I've eaten anything Turkish in the previous 5 years were on trips back to Australia (actually we ate Turkish once in Tokyo). I'm sure that there are plenty of good Turkish eating places in Hong Kong, and I must make a point to check them out because I like Turkish food. On our very final evening in Brisbane during our very short trip there in July, we had dinner at Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant prior heading out to the airport for our return flight to Hong Kong. This was after walking around the CBD of Brissy and then walking to and around the South Bank area, so we had worked up quite an appetite for dinner. This was our second time dining at Ahmet's, and we'd liked it so much last time that we requested to eat there again. We'd arrived just before 6pm on a Saturday evening, yet the whole restaurant was already brimming full of people. Thankfully there was one table available for our group, and even though it was outside in the cool winter air, the gas heater near our table kept us warm. Unlike last time, it was easy to get the attention of one of the waitstaff as we were positioned near the entrance and the waitstaff were constantly in and out to service the large number of tables on the patio.

Turkish bread with Beetroot, Hommus and Baba Ghanoush dips. Everyone at the table each liked different dips, and I kept going back for more baba ghanoush:

Falafel. I still remember the first time I ever had falafels, and that was in NYC (hm, now I think about it, the only times I'd eaten falafels had been in NYC). These ones at Ahmet's were good, but quite different to the ones we've eaten before:

We got the Kid-sized Pide (oven-baked Turkish "pizza") for the boy. He loved it so much that he ate most of the pide by himself. 'Twas a shame that he got a pretty bad reaction to dinner only 2 hours later at the airport (thank goodness I had some antihistamines to administer immediately, but we had such a scare as he had never reacted like that before). We were told that the kitchen used sesame in their bread, and that Zak's pide would be cooked in the same oven, but we decided to be less strict and risk it, as we often have done in the past when eating out with Zak. That night we learnt our lesson and will not be so careless next time, and definitely not just before a flight!

Kidz Pide with cheese and chicken, thumbs up from our toddler's tastebuds (but thumbs down from his immune system):

Hubby's Iskender - oven roasted lamb on Turkish bread with traditional Iskender sauce, yoghurt and rice. Nice meal for lamb-lovers, but I can't be the only person to think that there's just a bit too much carbs on one plate. Turkish bread AND rice? If the generous serving of lamb meat doesn't fill the tum, then the carbs will certainly do it:

My order of Pilic Sehrazat - slow-cooked chicken, sautéed spinach, mushroom sauce with beetroot and pumpkin dips. Flavourful and moist chicken pieces with a creamy mushroom sauce. Thank goodness this one didn't come with any rice or bread as it was already quite filling without any carbs:

The 2.75-year-old and I took a little break from eating to check out the kitchen. Here's the corner where his pide came from...:

... and this is where the rest of the food came from:

Everyone was eager to have some Turkish sweets to finish the meal with, so we ordered the Turkish Dessert Tasting Plate as well as Chocolava (chocolate and hazelnut baklava) and Kazan Dibi (caramalised milk pudding, described in the menu as Turkish crème caramel). Some of us ordered Turkish Apple Tea too. I always find Turkish desserts to be too sweet, and these were no exception. However the rest enjoyed the sweets quite a lot.

The Turkish crème caramel (kazan dibi):

The dessert tasting plate which included baklava, pishmaniye (described as Turkish fairy floss), traditional rosewater Turkish delight, and dried figs macerated in some sweet liquor. The plate of the chocolate & hazelnut baklava is in the background:

We were treated to some lovely belly-dancing too, and I have photos of the performance (and of my FIL getting pulled up by the belly dancer to dance in front of everyone with her), but I'm not comfortable with showing so much skin on my G-rated blog. You'll just have to take my word for it. Great place for Turkish food (although not recommended for those who have nut and sesame allergies).

Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant
10/164 Grey Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
Tel. + 61 7 3846 6699

Ahmet's Turkish Restaurant (South Bank) on Urbanspoon

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