The northern suburbs of Cape Town has precious little to get excited about so even the smallest new halaal option has us rubbing our hands with glee. So when I spotted Istanbul Restaurant on Durban road I was firstly surprised at the location and secondly eager to test drive this newby.
Firstly, the word ‘restaurant’ in the name is perhaps a bit of an over-statement. I would call this place an eatery. As you enter, you pass the counter and cooking area and proceed through to a small back section with about 8 tables. The owner, an expat from Turkey is also the waiter and cook. When we were there he had 2 ladies helping him but he came himself to take our orders. From our table we could watch him cook and prepare.
We ordered a Chicken Shawarma, a Meat Shawarma the standard portion which does not come with chips but does have some salad on the side as well as tahini and garlic sauce, a Kofta Kebab and Margarita Pizza for the little guy. In terms of presentation, there was no real difference between the Shawarma and the Kofta Kebab. Both were served in a thin leavened bread as opposed to the pita style bread served by many other shawarma vendors. This bread makes for a lighter meal and I somewhat prefer it. Syriana also serves their shawarma like this. Flavour wise, like most middle eastern food it was not too spicy but the chicken was more tasty than the meat. The Kofta Kebab was my preference. Quite a bit more spicy and flavourful than the other two. The garlic sauce on the side was really good. The tahini sauce is distinctive and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The pizza was pretty standard. Nothing to write home about. Drinks were sodas of which there were very little flavours. He was nice enough to go out and buy a coke though when there was none and hubby asked for it.
Prices are very reasonable. Our entire meal came to around R120. The standard shawarmas we ordered at R25 were without chips though. The larger serving which includes chips is R50. The menu is not too big – made up of the 3 items we ordered a Meat Kebab, and a Shish Tawook. Also 6 different types of pizzas. There’s some Turkish side dishes like Lintel Soup and Calzony which might be worth a try as well.
The general feel is more of a takeout. While there are tables, there is no real decor and finishing touches are lacking. I would go back to buy some takeaways and it would be suitable if you need a quick bite and you’re in the area. One nice thing is that there is parking available in front of the store, however, on a busy weekday on Durban road even this might be taken. Evenings and weekends should be good.
I spotted a Shai Tea (yes, the spelling is correct) on the menu board as we were paying at the counter and decided to try that as a takeaway. He made it using an espresso machine so hopefully the coffee will be good. We did not try it that night. The tea was a mix of ceylon tea crushed with fresh mint which I thoroughly enjoyed as I sipped it in the car on the way home.
Listed: 14 September 2017
Casual Dining, Dinner, Lunch,
Cheap | Under R100,