Belly dancers, low-sitting tables surrounded by cushions to sit on, camels (?) and wood-fired pizzas are common in most Turkish restaurants. All of these however are unfortunately unavailable at the Ponsonby version of the Turkish Café (insert upside-down smiley face here).
A mid-week dinner out was planned so Amber could catch up with friend and so we could continue to make the most of the Entertainment Book – which has been well worth the financial outlay… but also has encouraged a further financial outlay towards food. But I can live with that. Food is awesome. And necessary for the vital task of living.
I met up with Amber and her friend and immediately realized why my earlier phone booking was met with a surprised tone of voice. The place was pretty barren at 7pm with only two tables occupied and, as the evening progressed, proved to increase by a mere handful of walk-in patrons and pick-up orders. In fact, when I turned up I couldn’t tell whether the look on the two cooks faces (who stood in an open-style kitchen positioned near the front of the restaurant) expressed; A) their gratitude for the extra business a young male’s appetite represented OR, B) disappointment that they’d have to slave over a hot stove for one extra mains. I immediately gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed from their awkward smiles that they were over the moon to see me.
What is amazing about Turkish food (and I find similar to Mexican food) is the numerous ways the same ingredients can be arranged and presented and be given a different dish name. All types of kebabs, be them Shish, Donner or other type, seem to me to be the same combination of meat, salad, rice and hummus on a plate. As cynical as this observation may sound, I can more than counter this by the redemption of fantastic taste. Turkish food is one of my all-time favourites and would have to be one of the main reasons why I will make a concerted effort to visit Turkey!
Hummus, falafel, tabouleh, yoghurt and izmir kofteh… all superb. Just writing these words are making me frickin’ hungry. The Turkish Café in Ponsonby does a pretty good job of all of these and, should I be in the vicinity in the future and have a mega kebab craving, I will definitely pop in for a takeaway feed. As for a dining experience, it may improve in the popular Thursday-Saturday timeline but for mine, I wouldn’t particularly recommend it as a “special night out”. They do a fantastic hummus though!