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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mado Cafe, Auburn

Mado ice cream

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.

Mado Cafe

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.

Dessert cabinet

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.

Mado Cafe interior

With our late breakfast barely digested, we opt for a light lunch.

red lentil soup
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.

chilli flakes

Maras salad
Maras Salad $4.90
Mixed vegetable salad with walnuts and a hint of pomegranate juice and olive oil

Pilaki baked beans
Pilaki $4.90
Borlotti beans and roasted vegetables cooked with olive oil and served with lemon and parsley

Guvec lamb
Guvec $11.00
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.

Ayran $2.00

Finally (and most importantly) we move onto dessert.

Mado ice cream

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.

rice pudding
Kazandibi $4.50
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.

Salep $3.80

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.

Cay $1.50

There are cups of cay Turkish tea, and because we are foodbloggers, there are lots of photos as well:


Mado coaster

View Larger Map
Mado Cafe on Urbanspoon

Mado Cafe
63 Auburn Road, Auburn, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9643 5299

Mado has also opened cafes in Brisbane and Mebourne.

Mado (Brisbane)
Shops 1-3, The Galleria Apts
15 Tribune Street, South Bank, Brisbane QLD
Tel: +61 (07) 3844 3878

Mado (Melbourne)
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
8 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 7/06/2006 11:58:00 pm


  • At 7/07/2006 1:39 am, Blogger papa lazarou said…

    yum, sensational job as always! i used to go to auburn quite alot for work, and it'd be the usual great pide or soup from my fave friendly eating place... never really noticed this mado cafe before... cant wait to try..

  • At 7/07/2006 9:01 am, Blogger L&coolj said…

    I went to this place a few years ago when my mum (who frequents the cafe with her workmates) took me there for some turkish coffee and light lunch. I didn't get the chance to try their icecream then, but your post has made me wanna go there now. I might pay them a little visit next weekend.
    Btw, great post!

  • At 7/07/2006 9:53 am, Blogger Bex said…

    Helen - that place sounds divine. I'm taking notes for when I go to Turkey in a few months time!

  • At 7/07/2006 10:44 am, Blogger Louise said…

    yum! This looks fantastic - and a new style of icecream sounds intruiging...

    but the best thing about your post is that there is a sister cafe in Brisbane that I can visit! Thanks for the review Helen :)


  • At 7/07/2006 3:34 pm, Blogger R said…

    Wow that ice cream looks incredible. I have not been to Auburn before, but am reaching for the street atlas now.

    Have you seen the 'Hairy bikers' on SBS? Perhaps you have better things to do on a Friday night, but they did a few episodes in Turkey and showed this ice cream too (in the style of all good merchandising, you can get the book from Dymocks).

    And recently while discussing camels (long story) with a young Arabic boy, he explained that in the Middle East they also use camels milk in the ice cream. In his opinion it was delicious.

    Another fabulous entry.

  • At 8/22/2007 2:29 pm, Blogger Sydneyguy said…

    There turkish ice cream, the one that you have to use a knife and fork for is really, really nice!! IF you just go in there for that, you will be satisfied!!

    There dips are nice, and i got the mixed plate at $16.50, which looks small when you get it, but it will fill you up!!

    I'm going to bring more friends there in future, its really something different to try for people who just goto the same old places!!

  • At 8/24/2007 9:27 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi sydneyguy - The maras dondurma is my favourite. Stretchy and chewy ice cream. Yum :)

    I agree. It's a great place to take people who haven't been before.

  • At 7/21/2014 7:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    They sell the real Dondurma at Gima and Dilek market in Auburn..they have the original Maras,Chocolate,Pistachio and Strawberry..sold in take home slabs...the besy icecream..


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