Turkish Kebabs South Melbourne
My parents have taught me a lot of things; eat your greens, clean your teeth twice a day, write your name on your things, don’t interrupt people when they’re talking, don’t sweat the small stuff and most importantly, if a place looks dingy but has a lot of people inside, it’s probably going to have great food.
I know this in theory but I often disregard their instruction in my quest for well-designed, immaculate architectural spaces- something I don’t feel is too much of a sin… as long as these spaces are accompanied by delicious food. Sadly, I’ve too often been to restaurants that look beautiful but have missed the ball on the flavour. While I absolutely do think that presentation plays a huge part in food- both in “plating” (I love me a good buzz word) and the atmosphere of a restaurant, no amount of exposed brick or mood lighting can disguise bland or boring meals.
In contrast, some of the best food I’ve eaten has been in spaces that could definitely use some jazzing up and on Thursday night, the lesson taught by parents was reinforced once again.
I subscribe to the amazing Malthouse Theatre in South Melbourne and as such, get to see every one of the shows they put on throughout the year. So far this year, I’ve seen incredible cabaret, terrifying drama, intimate showcases and most recently, the beautiful Every Brilliant Thing– a one man performance surrounding the story of a little boy who, in an attempt to save his depressive, suicidal mum, writes a list of all the brilliant bits and pieces of life. It’s a moving, funny and very clever show— one which I enjoyed immensely but probably wouldn’t have chosen to see. That’s what I love about subscribing to the theatre- it broadens my horizons and opens my eyes to new perspectives, experiences and insights. If you can, I highly recommend checking out the Malthouse subscription packages or investigate the other theatre companies Melbourne has to offer.
It also means I get to go out for dinner on a semi regular basis! Bonus!
However, I’m deeply indecisive and South Melbourne is hardly devoid of options often leading me to rely on my handy friends at Zomato … and what do you know, one of the highest rated options was a place that I’d walked past a million times, writing off as a hot box horror… How wrong I was.
Turkish Kebabs makes up for its generic name with a lot of flavour, amazing service and genuine home style appeal. While the red booths and “local fish and chip shop” décor may not rate particularly highly when compared to your Chin Chins or Top Paddocks, the little touches of flowers on the tables, an ample supply of magazines and lots of space to spread out really made me feel at home.
It was clean and most importantly, the home style atmosphere was matched by the home style approach to service. As I walked in, I was welcomed warmly (a sight I saw often over the hour or so I sat there) and I was given a lot of information about the different choices on offer. Obviously, Turkish Kebabs offers a fare of kebabs, meat plates (both kebab meat and grilled “shish” plates), vegetarian plates, loads of fresh salads, home-made dips, dolma, traditional Turkish desserts and Turkish tea and coffee.
It’s simple and easy fare but it’s done right. I chose the shish plate which comes with a salad, 2 dips, rice and Turkish bread. I had it mixed (chicken and lamb) with a mix of tabouli, bean and garden salads (obligingly suggested when I asked if I could have two salads instead of the rice) and tzatziki and eggplant dip. A sucker for anything garlicky and tangy, I also asked for a side of the garlic dip, pickled turnip and naturally, one of the small dolmas. I also had a glass of Turkish tea which was beautiful and warming.
The food was freshly prepared right in front of me and served quickly, although they did forget the dolma initially.
The meat was well seasoned and tender; the salads were perfectly balanced and happily, well portioned! The dips were delicious and full flavoured while the pickles added the perfect amount of zing.
It was only as I reached the end of my cup of tea that I realised I was missing the dolma I ordered and gently enquired after it. To my surprise and delight, my lovely waitress brought out two, joking with me that I had definitely already eaten the first- it was just so good that I wanted another one! After eating the dolma, I can understand her suspicion! It was herby, tasty and very moreish. The second one didn’t last long.
While I couldn’t finish my meal, I wouldn’t say that the portion size was over the top like some similar eateries I’ve visited. I felt satisfied- not stuffed- and like I’d eaten at a friend’s house.
Accompanied by a great night of theatre, spontaneous stage side chats with fellow theatre goers and a ridiculous easy run on the Monash, Turkish Kebabs was a lovely experience and one which reminded me of family in all the right ways. Definitely check them out.
Here’s a peek at the menu.
Turkish Kebabs South Melbourne
Address: 286 Clarendon St, South Melbourne VIC 3205
Phone:(03) 9690 2649
Amy is our guest reviewer for today. Her love of food is only matched by her love of fitness and her fear of choosing the wrong dish on the menu. She loves to explore new places and old stalwarts, constantly torn between ticking a cafe off her “to try” list and revisiting the favourites. She owns way too many cookbooks but the pleasure she gets from experimenting with new flavours and serving them to her family and friends far outweighs any debt incurred. Read more from Amy or visit us on Facebook.