(halal)The Strait of Bosphorus divides up Turkey into two, separating the European side from the Asian side. Due to it's location, Turkish cuisine offers a blend of western Mediterranean cuisine with the exotic spices such as cumin, parsley, oregano and thyme from the Mediterranean and Central Asia. Eggplants feature prominently in Turkish Cuisine, together with Olive Oil, green peppers, onion, lentils, tomatoes and nuts.
There is a restaurant offering Turkish cuisine, right in the heart of the city. Located at Level 6 of Pavilion, at the central court, I can't help but oogle at it admiringly every time I pass by. Tastefully decorated interior with beautiful prints on the wall, high backed chairs and curtains beckon me with an enticing charm.
Turkish Food are often given very romantic and very exotic names. It is no uncommon to discover dishes named Dainty Fingers, Lady's Thighs and Beautiful Lips in the lexicon of Turkish Food. One of the starters in the menu of Bosphorus is Imam Biyaldi, or stuffed eggplants.
Imam Biyaldi means The Imam's Favourite and according to Turkish Folklore, there was an Imam who married a very pretty wife. On the wedding night, she cooked some stuffed eggplant for him with lots of olive oil. The Imam liked the dish so much and demanded that she cook him this dish everyday for him. On the 13th day, she told him that there was no more olive oil in the house to cook his favourite dish, and feeling very disappointed, the Imam fainted. There are many versions of this story and this just happens to be one of them.
The dish is actually braised eggplant stuffed with onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, chopped parsley. Green peppers were served separately instead of being stuffed into the eggplant. Generously drizzled with olive oil, the version at Bosphorus was unsalted. The eggplants had a slight bitterness which could have benefited from some light salting which could have removed the bitter edge.
I had sauteed chicken with wild oregano, served with buttered rice (Dag Kekili Tavuk Sote) for mains.
The chicken was sauteed in a tomato based sauce and nuts and was rather fragrant, but again was slightly bland. It came with some buttered rice and grilled tomato and green pepper. I should have ordered the lamb instead.
For dessert, I had Damla Sakizli Firin Sutlac which is Turkish Rice Pudding. The pudding had been broiled in an oven until the top is slightly charred. The top crust had an "eggy" taste underneath the crust was a milk based (chilled) rice pudding, flavoured with cinnamon and rose scent. Almost like "Turkish Delight" kind of rose scent. Interesting.
Their coffee was interesting. It came in an authentic Turkish Espresso kind of cup and filled with bitter, aromatic, 100 proof caffeine that left me jittery for the rest of the day!
Be forewarned that I personally found the food here is bland by Malaysian Standards and you will need some time to appreciate the myriad of flavours that Turkish Cuisine has to offer. I'll probably try their lamb kebab the next round. Service was excellent, and the staff fairly knowledgeable.
Lot 6.33.00 and 6.34.00
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur