Possibly one of the most unassuming expensive restaurants we’ve been to, A’la Turka appears to be a simple shop as you walk past it in Irene Mall, Centurion (just off the R21). The store front greets you with Turkish Delights, hubbly bubbly, gold, silver and candy, but you won’t get the full taste until you make the reservation…
We walked in around 19:45 and were greeted by a friendly lady who escorted us to our seats, a table with cushions surrounding it. When you book at A’la Turka, be prepared to be transported to what seems to be an entire new world! The decor of A’la Turka is outstanding. There are truly no further words to describe it. The walls are decorated with hand painted lampshades, the lighting is low, with various mediterrainean/greek/cyrillic/lebanese artifacts all over the place. We shall leave it to you to discover the decor for yourselves!
The first thing on our minds, was to order water. As most of you know, South African summers are relatively unforgiving, and at times, water is more valuable than gold. We were quite intrigued with the fact that the water was not your stock standard bottled brands, but a brand with entirely incomprehensible symbols all over it. True authenticity!
For starters, we ordered the Mihshi Malfoul Dolmades to share. This is a Lebanese mixture of cabbage leaves stuffed with meat, rice, herbs and spices, baked in lamb stock and served with a form of Tzatziki. It was, as an understatement, divine. The tomato and garlic undertones burst their way into your senses! Unfortunately there were only three pieces, we could have easily polished many more…
My main course was the Tavuk Kebab, a chicken kebab grilled and served with pita and Turkish rice. I must admit, at first I thought the chicken was quite dry, but the more bites I took, the better and more tender the chicken became. I still maintain that chicken is a precarious meal to order at a restaurant, it is normally under- or over-done. A’la Turka gets it just right, not too dry, but not underdone. The veggies provided with the meal were outstanding, they were crisp and flavourful. The pita bread, well, you need to taste that for yourself.
And then the entertainment arrived (yes, this line deserves its own paragraph).
Always read the fine print when visiting a fancy restaurant. At A’la Turka, for the price of around R20, on Friday, Saturday and Wednesday (I think??) they include entertainment, and it is positively mesmerising! Belly dancers, armed with scimitars, fire and dances will capture your gaze as you sit and try to concentrate on your meal. Wow! You think you’ve seen it all until you see a dancer balance a… wait… that’s another thing that you need to see for yourself.
Desert? Well, there wasn’t really room after the main meal. But (yes, there is a but), we’ve had dessert here before (we plan ahead!). On our previous visit, I had a baklava. I can’t say for certain, due to having Lebanese family and having been exposed to this before, but I am pretty sure that A’la Turka’s baklava comes within and even surpasses the “home-made” factor as far as this is concerned. Their desserts are truly a sight to behold, a culinary masterpiece of sweetness! The baklava, well, yet again, you need to try it for yourself… Bonita had a fruit salady type of dessert, but even that had my mouth watering. A whole bunch of fruits, pasted on top of each other, with syrup over it… Mmmmmm….
Then there is the Turkish coffee that they offer. I don’t actually think I can make any comments that would do it any justice. I will leave Bonita to make a comment on that at a later point (Yes! We will be reviewing A’la Turka again!)
What a night! If any kind of time span can give a description to a place, the first time we went there we spent 4.5 hours inside, and the second time, for a light snack and coffee, we spent over 3 hours. That says something!
For a fantastic night out, being transported into a new world, and just plain enjoying yourselves as well as the entertainers and entertainment, I highly recommened it!