Alaturka Turkish and Mediterranean Restaurant: Faith in Middle Eastern restored

A few years back, having returned from a short business-related stint in the Middle East and subsequently working under a throng of Lebanese bosses whilst living in Sydney, Australia; I've entertained thoughts that if in the case I weren't born Chinese, Middle eastern would be the next best thing. Reason being, the cuisine was gorgeous.

I had grown a furtive love for all things Middle Eastern, baba-ganoush, hummus, fattoush, baklava, halva - I wanted them all. Simple, satisfying and supposedly good for you.

Needless to say, the concept of Lebanese and Middle Eastern food has got no backbone in Singapore., most people relegating it to a single-minded entity of hummus. It was neglected and abandoned. Tarnished by the stain of smoke rings that the lure of the cheap thrill shish entailed (thank goodness for the shish ban in November 2014. Read here). And to my dismay, I abolished the beautiful thought , with that throwing the towel in on ever enjoying authentic Middle Eastern cuisine on local shores. 

Years passed and through my various trips meandering the outskirts of the Middle-Eastern district, I came across a throng of recommendations put out my country fellow-men about a couple of places worth checking out. Dang. Dubious at first, I bite my tongue and traversed past the populous Arab street precinct in search of gold.

Few minutes into my dining experience at Alaturka, and one word comes to mind. Family. The communal spirit of sharing is evoked, quite similar to the many convivial dining experiences I've experienced with the locals during my stay in Dubai. Alaturka Turkish and Mediterranean restaurant is a place where you'll want to bring your entire family, the food, deeply rooted in culture is interspersed with dashes of love in every bite. I attested to that when working my way through the Meze Tabagi ($19 for small, $27 for large) - each and every component prepared with meticulous detail. There's hummus (which is always good), babakanus, satsuma (diced eggplant tossed in tangy tomato sauce, Turkish vegan delight), patlican salata (mashed potato salad with yogurt and garlic), ezme (spicy Turkish tomato salad), Yaprak sarmasi (picked rolled vine leaves with a rice filling), rus salatasi (Russian style chope salad of boiled potatoes, pickles, carrot ands peas, lightly dressed in mayonnaise) served with a hot Turkish lavas bread. The rare sights on the plate, along with the exotic soundtracks and luscious carpets mounted on walls conjures a romantic sense of wanderlust. Not before long, you'll be digging in with wild abandon.

A trip to a Middle Eastern restaurant is not without grilled meats and here at Alaturka, there are choices aplenty. Chicken, lamb and beef, take your pick and leave the rest of the work to the cute Turkish chef working the stoves behind. My Adana Kebabi ($20) was delightfully smoky, and instantly I yearned for a larger portion. The hand-minced meat kebab mounted on a wide iron skewer is tender and succulent through and through, the accompanying mound of buttered brown and white rice mix, lusciously rich. If you're adverse to lamb, the Shish Tawook does not disappoint either. Chunks of char-grilled chicken slick with residual oils from the marinade is another standout. There's nothing clumsy about the cuisine, the large portions highlighting the hospitality of the Middle-eastern spirit.

While the main courses tend to fill you up really quickly, I would implore you to order the Kunefe ($13) to end the meal. It's groundbreaking. A Turkish treat, it consists of thin vermicelli pastry baked in soft cheese and sweet syrup. And yes, it will cause your hips to ache, but trust me when I say its imperative to conclude the whole experience. I mopped up the remnants and looked at the emptied dish with respect and adoration. Faith in middle eastern cuisine has been restored. That's just how some days go down.

Turkish and Mediterranean Restuarant
t: 62940304
15 Bussorah Street

Operating Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 11pm 

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