Turkish ice cream, known as dondurma is like nothing else. It contains salep, a flour made from the ground tubers of wild orchids, and mastic resin. It is these two ingredients that make dondurma such a textural experience, creating a stretchy chewy ice cream that is virtually impossible to melt.
We stopped at Mado Cafe for lunch after a DIY foodie tour of Auburn all morning. I had been looking forward to dondurma all day and the array of ice creams on display made us all stop and stare in wistfulness.
As we made our way to our table for a sit-down lunch, there were double-takes and dawdlings at the dessert cabinet as well.
If one tried to picture a Turkish den, Mado would probably come close in realisation. It's quite dim down the back, and the walls are cluttered with paintings, mirrors, trinket-filled cabinets, decorative plates and tapestries.
With our late breakfast barely digested, we opt for a light lunch.
Erme Corbasa $5.00
Red lentil soup with pureed vegetables
The red lentil soup arrives as an unadorned mustard yellow. It is soon dressed with a spoonful of chilli flakes, and along with strips of fresh fluffy Turkish bread, the soup is warm and nourishing.
Maras Salad $4.90
Mixed vegetable salad with walnuts and a hint of pomegranate juice and olive oil
Borlotti beans and roasted vegetables cooked with olive oil and served with lemon and parsley
Diced lamb fillets, tomatoes, peppers, onions and eggplants baked in clay bowls
We share three dishes with the diced lamb fillets the clear winner. The eggplant is extremely smokey, reminiscent of baba ghanoush, giving the dish a wintery comfort food feel. The salad is light and refreshing and the toasted walnuts give a buttery crunch, but we can't find much evidence of pomegranate juice as promised.
All this is washed down with mouthfuls of ayran, the popular yoghurt drink, which is served aerated and foamy here.
Finally (and most importantly) we move onto dessert.
After careful inspection of the available options, we opt to share a plate of three scoops of ice cream.
Triple serve Mado ice cream $8.00
Maras, raspberry and date
The little shovels are cute but functional, providing a cutting edge for the stretchy almost mozzarella-like ice cream. The raspberry and date flavours are both tasty, but it's the maras which wins my heart. Made only with salep it is easily the stretchiest and its mild sweet flavour is smooth and addictive.
Burnt rice pudding
I had been particularly intrigued by the kazandibi in the dessert cabinet, and upon first mouthful I am terribly pleased I made a request for this. It is much thicker than it looks, like a chewy gelatinous pulverised rice pudding, we decide between spoonfuls. Someone remarks it tastes like the inside of a toasted marshmallow, and it does; it has that same burnt sugar flavour. It's very good.
I believe it contains pudding rice, sugar and gum mastic which would explain its thick starchy texture. It's the kind of pudding you would eat in front of the television, curled up on the lounge with a tiny teaspoon.
I also can't resist trying salep, having spotted someone purchasing salep powder in a grocery shop earlier that day. The salep tastes of thickened milk, which is dusted with ground pistachio and a scattering of nutmeg. It's another comforting taste sensation, one that reminds you of a childhood lined with memories of Horlicks and malted milk powder.
There are cups of cay Turkish tea, and because we are foodbloggers, there are lots of photos as well:
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63 Auburn Road, Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9643 5299
Mado has also opened cafes in Brisbane and Mebourne.
Shops 1-3, The Galleria Apts
15 Tribune Street, South Bank, Brisbane QLD
Tel: +61 (07) 3844 3878
Shop G133 Broadmeadows Town Centre
Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadows, Melbourne VIC
Tel: +61 (03) 9309 2545
Related GrabYour Fork posts:
Auburn -- Mado Cafe (Jan09)
Auburn -- Al Sofra Pizza, Pide and Kebabs
Auburn -- New Star Kebabs
Auburn food shopping -- Harkola Food World Wide warehouse
Auburn food tours -- August 2006 and July 2006
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7/06/2006 11:58:00 p.m.