We popped into Stanbuli before a show at the Enmore Theatre as it’s just down the road (took a bit of effort to find the entrance though, our tip is to look out for the pink hairstylist sign) and were rewarded with some interesting, modern Turkish flavours from their menu.
The restaurant is a lot larger than it looks, with a chic second floor upstairs where we were seated. We started off our dinner with a refreshing salad featuring shredded Queensland spanner crab and the exotic flavours of pomegranate seeds, chopped green olives, pistachios and walnuts.
Gavurdagi Salata, $14
Our other starter meze was a flavoursome Kizartma, which consists of fried eggplant and olive oil split tomato, which is served with a tasty garlic yoghurt.
Moving onto the larger dishes from the charcoal and wood fired grill section of the menu – we had their Adana Kebap which is made of delicious hand minced lamb belly and shoulder, seasoned with chilli and capsicum and cooked over ironbark and charcoal, together with chopped smoky eggplant.
Adana Kebap, $20
We also went for their Tavuk featuring a whole chicken marinated in paprika and garlic and slowly cooked over their charcoal and wood fire to keep it juicy, served with an intensely flavoured beetroot yoghurt.
We also had two different kinds of seafood cooked over the grill. My favourite was the Ahtapot, which showcased tender, marinated Tasmanian octopus that was also cooked over ironbark and charcoal. It was paired with an amazing, creamy tarama (a mullet roe emulsion) which I couldn’t get enough of. The other dish was the Kalamar, where local calamari had been marinated in its own ink, chilli and garlic and slowly cooked over the wood fire with leeks and smoky anchovy sauce. It was nice too, but the tarama in the Ahtapot made all the difference for me.
While the servings at Stanbuli aren’t that big, their rich and interesting flavours keep your tastebuds happy and we were fairly full after sharing those 6 dishes between 4 of us. Top marks to their staff for picking up at the start of our meal that we were going to a show after dinner and making sure that our food came out in time for us to make the show – thoughtfulness goes a long way!