Istanbul Sultan

Turkish food in Dubai means much more than kebabs

Time Out Says

Step outside any nightclub in the UK or Germany moments after closing time, and you’ll see a torrent of inebriated midnight snackers heading for the nearest kebab shop, or imbiss in Germany. Needless to say, the unstoppable rise of the döner kebab, the spun meat sandwich cousin of the shawarma, has not done the reputation of Turkish cuisine any favours. But Turkish food’s far more than the culinary equivalent of a regrettable one night stand. Like other Mediterranean cuisines, it’s all about fresh, in-season fruit and vegetables, with lots of meat, nuts, bread and spices.

Considering Dubai’s proximity to Turkey, and the large Turkish population in the emirate, it seems strange that the country’s food is so underrepresented. Thankfully, a scattering of low-key Turkish restaurants can be found in Deira, particularly in Abu Hail. One such outlet is Istanbul Sultan, tucked into the warren of streets behind the Ramada Continental.

The sparsely decorated place keeps things simple at lunch. The meal starts with a light çorba, a lentil soup made with pepper and spices, a simple mixed salad, and a warm, white and fluffy bread similar to the Italian focaccia. This is followed by one of several simple stews, made with lamb or chicken, loaded with green bell peppers, tomatoes, button mushrooms and onion, and served with pilaf rice. In the evenings you can also order pide, hot bread usually stuffed with egg and meat, and the obligatory döner. All meals, naturally enough, should be followed by Istanbul Sultan’s magnificent Turkish coffee, which will hopefully keep you awake long enough to find your way safely out of this far-flung corner of the city.

By Time Out Dubai  | 16 Aug 2006

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