My bosses want the company to have a meal together (all 6 of us) before the start of Ramadhan (the Islamic month where it is compulsory for Muslims to fast - namely abstaining from eating, drinking and sexual activities from dawn until sunset).
It's always the same dreaded question that really ticked me off, "SO what's for lunch?"
My lady boss suggested Indonesian. Or Japanese? *Yawn!* Same old.. same old...
Then she mentioned 'mediterranean food at Arab Street'. I instantly thought of Alaturka, where my parents and I were really pleased with the authentic Turkish food in a really nice setting during our previous visit.
A quick note: Parking is a nightmare during lunch hour!
clockwise from top: Patatessalata, Tabouleh, Hummus, Dolma, Saksuka, Babaganoush & some mysterious, spicy dip
'Meze' is a selection of appetizers or small dishes that acts as a start to Mediterranean meals.
My female boss left it to me to order for us, since I seemed to be familiar with the food there (I've only been there all of ONE time- years ago!). Egad!
What better way for a group of 6 to start a meal, than to share a large platter of mixed 'mezes'? There's the:
~ Dolma - Spiced rice wrapped in grape leaves.
~ Patatessalata - Mediterranean potato salad
~ Tabouleh - Mint leaves & 'bulgur' (ground durum wheat) salad
~ Hummus - Chickpea w/ tahini dip
~ Saksuka - Deep fried eggplant w/ tomato sauce
~ Babaganoush - Roasted eggplant & garlic dip
~ and the spicy, reddish dip that reminds me of heavily spiced hummus
All were good and the Saksuka was a hot favourite amongst most of us. This platter was accompanied with Lavash, the traditional middle-eastern bread (seen in background of picture above) that came bloated with hot air and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Really yummy!
I ate one of the dolma and find that it tasted a lil' tart. I wonder what contributed to that. The spiced rice (assumed to be pilaf) or is that how grape leaves taste like?
I also ordered the falafel (deep-fried chickpea patty) which reminds me of the Indian masal vadai (deep fried 'dhal'/lentil patty), though this one here seemed lightly spiced.
My boss the meat-lover was appalled to see that the platter was very much a vegetarian dish. We assured him that the dishes we've already ordered will be pretty much carnivorous.
Pide is generally 'Turkish pizza', where 'pita' (bread) is topped with ingredients such as veggies or meat with cheese and then baked. The sides of the bread are usually folded in to create a boat-like shape.
This one here had marinated chicken pieces with a generous amount of cheese. The bread was soft and fluffy. All of us love it!
Tavuk Sis/Shish Tawook
A skewer of marinated chicken pieces that's served with pilaf (middle-eastern rice), vegetables and spicy mushroom & tomato sauce.
I highly recommend their chicken. The chicken meat was nicely marinated and the cooking, well-executed. It's tender and juicy. Quite pleased to see that my boss was impressed with this. Phew!
The pilaf was very fluffy and aromatic. "Like chicken rice!" as remarked by my boss. Well, the reason is that; like chicken rice, pilaf is also cooked in broth. And the sauce that the pilaf and cooked veggies soaked in was also yummy!
Mixed kebabs platter.
There are pieces of Sis Tavuk, Kuzu Pirzola (lamb chops) and Lamb Adana Kebab (minced meat on skewers).
My boss got the lone lamb chop and he remarked that it's really good and we should order another plate of simply that. But we're afraid that we wouldn't be able to finish everything else.
The lamb meat in the Adana kebab was a tad too salty for my liking. Thankfully, it didn't smell or taste too 'gamey'.
Chicken Iskander Kebab
Sliced marinated chicken in tomato sauce sitting on bread cubes, with homemade yoghurt on the side.
The tomato was tangy enough. Together with the yoghurt, this dish comes off as tasting a tad too sour. I guess, Turkish people likes their food that way, huh?
The cubes of bread at the bottom soak up all the flavours from the sauce and chicken and comes off as pretty delish; sans yoghurt, of course.
My female boss remarked that she loves eggplants so I was contemplating to either order this or the Ali Nazik, where cubes of lamb meatloaf stew is served in creamy, mashed eggplant dip.
Then I recalled that she doesn't like lamb so I got her the Chicken Moussaka instead, which had layers of eggplant, potato and chicken meatloaf that's topped with cheese and then grilled. Oooh.. all that hot, melted cheese with the works... Really delish!
Looking at the pics, you might have noticed that they were pretty generous with their greens. Those fresh salad clusters were prevalent in almost every dish, much to my delight. And the varieties used were the 'higher-end' types; like the rocket/arugula, butter head, cos/romaine, oak leaf & lollo rosso lettuce, radicchio and endive.
I'm just soo glad that the bosses somewhat enjoy the foods here. I was pretty apprehensive about the fact that I felt almost responsible for the choice of restaurant and food. Took a whole load off my shoulders to see them smiling at the end of the meal.
Their menu here.
The service was a tad patchy. Sometimes the servers were attentive and responded quickly & warmly. At times, they just seem like wanting to ignore us. It wasn't THAT busy...
My boss told us about a confectionery next door and that we'll be having desserts there...
Let's save that for the next post, shall we?
Alaturka Turkish & Mediterranean Restaurant
16 Bussorah Street Singapore 199437