The thing that bugs me most about a trip to the city is the parking. You could spend as much time looking for parking as it took you to get to town in the first place. And then when you get back from your meeting, engagement, etc., you’ve got to sell your right arm to pay for said parking. No wonder Uber is becoming more and more popular. It can really take the anger out of parking rage. And that is the first reason I liked Saray restaurant; there’s lots of parking. Granted, I was there on a Sunday but it’s situated in a complex where there is a car park and and it’s a bit removed from all the office buildings so the battle for parking will at least be a little less “Game of Thrones”.
Saray is a very recent addition to Cape Town’s repertoire of halaal dining, bringing authentic Turkish-Kurdish food to the Cape Town CBD. We went for lunch on a Sunday. It was quiet with only 2 other tables occupied but got a little busier as it got past 1 o’ clock. The large double volume space gives a sense of vastness yet it’s not a huge restaurant but there is also outside seating and it can accomodate quite a large crowd. We were seated at an inside table against the wall which is lined with bench style seating. The rich red of the upholstery and table cloths lend an exotic air. Conical copper lamps hang low from the ceiling and at night I’m sure this lights up into a warm haven. The big windows all round allow in lots of light and the white solid plastic chairs and rough cement floor lends an overall feel that is casual and bright.
Upon being seated my 3 year old, as 3 year olds are wont to do, immediately needed the loo. The restaurant does not have a loo inside, but the complex does and the waiter took a walk outside with us to point out the toilets. We waited quite long before they came to take our order and considering they were not busy, I was getting a little antsy. When they did come service was very attentive. The waiter had a thick middle eastern accent though and there was a bit of difficulty with communication when he was explaining the various unfamiliar dishes but we managed and he was able to get his explanation across. We ordered a meze starter which came with 5 dips including hummus, aubergine, tzaziki and 2 flatbreads. The mixing and matching of the dips made for interesting combinations. There was an option of a 1l carafe of lemonade which we ordered. I know that Ocean Basket also offers this in several flavours.
As I was on my detox plan I ordered a vegetarian dish of assorted vegetables cooked in a tomato sauce. It’s not served with any starch so I asked for flat bread to go with it. Z ordered the Kofte which is meatballs served with rice and a side of chips. Two starches seemed odd but we went with it. This dish was bit dry and could have used some kind of sauce. The taste as with most middle eastern food was quite mild. My veggies were tasty though and I didn’t miss the heat that I am used to. It’s quite interesting that the ingredients and spices of middle eastern and Indian food are so similar but the flavours in the end so different. The middle eastern palate favours less heat and spiciness yet the climate in the 2 areas are very similar.
The menu offers breakfast dishes as well but they only open at 11am on weekends. They also have an extensive list of starters and some light meals I’d still like to try. The dessert menu is small but we ordered an ice cream for my little one. It came in a parfait glass with pieces of mango in it which he wanted nothing to do with so reluctantly (not) I had to help him with his dessert. We finished off with Turkish Coffee for hubby which was presented in a pretty decorated esspresso cup and served with a little nugget of Turkish Delight. Inspite of the fact that I’m more of a coffee drinker, I tried the Turkish Apple tea. It was an excellent choice with a smooth and rounded consistency and surprisingly intense flavour.
They offer shisha pipes as well. People were having it at the outside tables and I’m not sure if it is offered inside the restaurant. But you might not want to take the kids if that’s the case.
The whole meal set us back about R450 which is a fair average. The ambiance is good but the service could use a little work. It’s very new though and I’m sure they were still finding their feet. I’d certainly go again for the reams of dishes I haven’t tried yet.
Breakfast, Casual Dining, Dinner, Lunch,
Medium | R100 - R300,