From tacos and tapas to Turkish cuisine, Durham City’s culinary offer has exploded in the last few years. Ahead of Durham Restaurant Week, Savour founder and editor, Georga Spottiswood, got stuck into some traditional Turkish cuisine.
Durham city: a place known for its Cathedral, Castle – and now as a foodie destination.
With millions of pounds of investment being spent since over the last few years, the area has become a haven for independent eateries – and national chains – which have opened doors in venues that line its cobbled streets.
From Japanese and Mexican flavours to tastes of the Caribbean and India, visitors can take their taste buds on a tour of the world.
Durham Restaurant Week, which has been launched by Durham BID Company – runs from January 28th to February 4th, with the aim of helping people beat the January blues as well as enticing visitors to try out new places.
Participating venues will offer £5, £10, £15, £20 and £25 menus, and included among those is Turkish Kitchen.
A relative newcomer to the city, the restaurant – on Saddler Street – was opened by two friends who wanted to bring the taste of Istanbul to diners.
Guests can expect traditional Turkish dishes and other delights, and the restaurant features exposed brick walls, beautiful botanical arrangements and fancy lighting.
Alex, the general manager (and son of one of the owners) was our charismatic server for the evening – and his recommendation of the meze sharer for two was an exceptional one for starters.
It features five cold and five hot starters, served with bread. It comes with mucver (a deep-fried fritter with courgette and feta cheese); falafel; fried aubergine with peppers, garlic and tomato; deep-fried feta cheese in filo pastry; lightly spiced beef and garlic sausage; halloumi; beetroot, garlic and yoghurt with a pomegranate dressing; hummus; kisir; and cacik (which is similar to tzatziki).
Among the favourites was the kisir, which is similar to couscous but uses cracked wheat instead. It was punchy and perfectly zingy. The spicy Turkish sausage was wonderfully moreish and the muska boregi (deep-fried filo pasty stuffed with feta and spinach) was crunchy, tasty and a huge hit.
For £24,95, it’s a great price – as individually each dish is priced from £5.95.
The main menu is split into grill, fish, vegan, veggie and house specials. Alex talked us through some of the more traditional Turkish dishes on the menu and I opted for the ali nazik chicken. Sautéed spiced chicken came served on a bed of smoky aubergine puree with garlic and yoghurt.
This home-style Turkish dish is one of the most famous kebab varieties of Gaziantep city, Turkey. The hearty dish was packed full of flavour and the smokiness of the aubergines shone through.
Baklava, made by Alex’s dad, and a Turkish coffee rounded off the meal.
Turkish Kitchen is taking part in Durham Restaurant Week, which runs until February 4th. Guests can enjoy three courses from a set menu for just £20, available Monday to Friday from 12noon to 4pm.