Famous Turkish apple tea $3
Six food bloggers in a restaurant can never be missed.
I often wonder what we must look like to the casual passerby, a table of diners intent on photographing each dish with such seriousness, their faces obscured by a camera lens.
Tonight I'm dining with fellow food bloggers Lex, Minh, Richard, Simon and Suze. It takes some time for six people to get the shot they're finally happy with, but when the photos are done, it's onto the food and plenty of conversation.
Mezze dips platter $14.90
Selection of home-made dips served with crisp garlic herb pide bread
We're at Sahara Turkish Restaurant, found among the stretch of new al fresco style restaurants along the bus stop side of Parramatta Westfield. There's a view into the kitchen from the street, the charcoal grill on which swords of meat are cooked, taking centre stage.
Apple tea served in tea glasses is boiling hot and satisfyingly sweet. Suze and I sip this slowly as we nibble on crunchy shards of garlic herb pide bread served with a trio of dips that includes hummos, baba ghanoush and spinach. The basting of oil and garlic is a little unnecessary given the bread is a mere receptacle for the dips.
Diablo chilli garlic prawns $16.90
Fresh tiger prawns marinated in garlic, herbs and chilli
sauteed in olive and napolitana sauce served in hot pot with bread
We check the menu description when the diablo chilli garlic prawns arrive, checking that yes, chilli had been promised. It's more of a prawn in passata offering than the devil's chilli we'd been hoping for. It's disappointingly devoid of garlic too.
Lamb cutlets $26.90
Chargrilled and thyme-marinated lamb cutlets
served with pilaf rice, salad and Turkish pide bread
Lamb cutlets are a generous serve of five cutlets resting on a bed of mash and a huddle of broccoli and carrot.
Kusbasi shish $22.90
Skewered and bbq tender lamb backstrap marinated in Sahara's
famous herbs and spices served with authentic salad, pilaf rice and aioli
I'm much more interested in the shish meats. Tender cubes of lamb backstrap make up the kusbasi shish, the meat tender and smoky in flavour. A compressed mound of pilaf rice, a saucer of aioli and a boat of cucumber, onion and tomato salad make up the accompaniments.
Adana shish $21.90
Authentic seasoned minced lamb skewers, a rare specialty of Turkey,
served with pilaf rice, authentic salad and aioli sauce
Adana shish is also a winner, the lamb mince a little sweeter in flavour, especially with its charred and caramelised edges. The bed of pide bread beneath the meat is the best part, tasty with the juices from the meat soaking into it.
Authentic dondurma $11
Maraj turkish ice cream
Lex is keen to try the dondurma, the uniquely stretchy ice cream that gets its chewiness from the pounded roots of a wild Turkish orchid. We receive the chocolate flavour which doesn't quite have the chewiness of the version at Mado Cafe in Auburn, although I expect the addition of chocolate may have hampered these qualities somewhat.
Turkish coffee $3.50
We haven't ordered a lot this evening but that's because the night isn't over yet. Suze had mentioned she wanted to have a cheese party to which someone asked, "what should we bring?"
"Bring prosciutto," she said. And so we did.
Prosciutto and cheese party
Apparently Simon doesn't believe in doing anything in halves. Travelling all over Sydney, Simon contributes three prosciutto, two presunto and three jamons:
- AC Butchery, Leichhardt - Prosciutto Crudo made locally and cured for at least 9 months
- Hudson Meats, Surry Hills - Prosciutto San Daniele and Jamon Iberico ($295/kg)
- Pino's Dolce Vita, Kogarah - Prosciutto made locally from Sweet Bangalow Pork
- Talho Portuguese Butchery, Petersham - Presunto (cheapest at $2.60 for 6 slices but very salty - we ended up frying it into super salty but crispy bacon)
- Portugese Spanish Butchery, Petersham - Presunto
- Terry Wright, Randwick - Jamon Serrano and Jamon Iberico ($395/kg)
Pigging out on pig? I couldn't think of a better way to end an evening!
Thanks everyone for a great night, particularly Simon for his generous contribution in the name of porcine research, and Suze for being such an accommodating host.
Beetroot relish, strawberries, Haberfield Bakery ciabatta,
rockmelon and Binnorie Dairy labneh
Prosciutto, presunto and jamon
Shop 2185 Westfield Parramatta
218 Argyle Street (corner Church St and Argyle St)
Tel: +61 (02) 9687 7898
Monday to Sunday 11am - late
Related GrabYour Fork posts:
Turkish -- Mado Cafe, Auburn (Jan09)
Turkish -- Al Sofra Pizza, Pide and Kebabs, Auburn
Turkish -- New Star Kebabs, Auburn
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9/15/2009 12:55:00 am