Turkey marks as one of the favourite countries I ever visited. I spent 2 weeks there, traveling from Istanbul, Ephesus to Cappadocia, and the historical sites and rich cultural landscapes still stay deeply entrenched in my memories. (Read: 5 Best Turkish Street Food from Istanbul )
So when I learnt there is a Turkish joint Ottoman Kebab & Grill even at far away Bedok Mall, I had to go. How many Turkish restaurants in Singapore can you name? Sofra at Shaw, Arkadas Cafes at Fusionpolis, and Alaturka at Bussorah Street. Where else?!
The Halal-certified Ottoman Kebab & Grill can be somewhat hard to find in Bedok Mall, a small outfit in the corner next to Prata Wala (owned by same group behind Zaffron Kitchen). It has casual vibes, a possible view to the kitchen where you can see the rotating Shawarma meat spits, but I feel it needs some Turkish music to complete the feel.
Helmed by Turkish native Head Chef Ali Kose, the restaurant offers a concise menu of Turkish favourites such as homemade Pide Flat Bread cooked over lava stones ($2), creamy Homous chick pea dip ($6), Cheese Borek like spring rolls with feta cheese ($6 for 6 pieces), Iskender Mutton Kebab ($18.50), and velvety Sutluc rice puddings ($3.50).
And it has Apple Tea ($3)! Gosh, I miss this, even though I have 4 boxes at home (which reminds me to tell you never get the cheap ones in the souvenir shops).
For those who need some a jolt of caffeine, try the Turkish Coffee ($4) which comes in black or milk in these traditional dainty cups. Tip for new Turkish coffee drinkers: Drink. It. Slowlllllly. It’s part of the culture.
Several of the dishes bring back fond memories of Turkey, authentic tasting, except that Chef probably went very easy on the sugar and intensity – which is a good thing for Singaporeans.
Though my disclaimer is Turkish food may not be for everybody. (I can attest to that because my Singaporean tour mates brought cup noodles and sambal chilli to Turkey.)
My favourite dishes are easily the Falafel ($5 for 3 pcs), very crispy deep fried patties made from ground chick pea and fava beans – it’s smoking hot in the inside, and the impressive all-encompassing Ottoman Shish Platter ($29) which comes with skewered chicken, beef, mutton, and seafood alongside pide and pilav rice. Fantastic for sharing.
The meat kebabs were evenly grilled and juicy, though I wished the seafood (fish fillet and prawns) could taste fresher.
I was introduced to the Turkish dessert Kunefe at Hafiz Mustafa 1864 in Istanbul. Seriously, I never dreamt about having this in Singapore. Who would prepare it? It’s so labour intensive!
It comprises stretchy nabulsi goat cheese encased within shredded kadayif phyllo pastry, pan-fried with butter to a golden hue, then drizzled with sugar syrup and crushed pistachios. It even came in the same aluminium cooking pan that I fondly remembered.
Wow, the presentation and taste was exactly like how I remembered it to be.
Ottoman Kebab & Grill
#01-75 Bedok Mall (next to Prata Wata, near Dian Xiao Er)
311 New Upper Changi Rd, Singapore 467360 (Bedok MRT). Tel: +65 67024031
Opening Hours: 11am-10pm Daily (Last orders 30 min before closing)