following is abridged from an article written by James Radford
and first published in June 1996 in Nottinghamshire Now
“If Antalya was good enough for the Emperor
Hadrian to visit, then it’s good enough for me, albeit 2,000
years later. Naturally Nottinghamshire Now! Didn’t
send me on an all expenses trip paid trip to Turkey but I was
fortunate enough to visit the wonderful Antalya Restaurant on
Forman Street in Nottingham in search of Turkish delight.
Every Turkish dish you’ve ever heard of is
available at Antalya – and several more. My three
friends and I sipped imported Efes Pilsners as we pored over
the menu and wine lists. Antalya is a cosy little
eatery, with a friendly atmosphere. The waiter didn’t
mind us spending 20 minutes ordering our meals and we didn’t
mind either, as we were nibbling a tasty assortment of fresh
pitta bread, crisp carrots, juicy olives and pickled chillies.
Our starters soon arrived. First, Tabule
for one of my companions. Specially prepared crushed
wheat, finely chopped spring onion, cucumber, tomatoes, mint,
parsley and green peppers coated with piquant lemon juice and
oil makes a salad dish much greater than the sum of its parts.
Another had opted for something more traditional, a Tarma
Salad featuring the classic Turkish fish roe paté. It
was fresher than any Tarma I’ve had before, and very
addictive when swiped on to pitta bread. The Ciger was
even more delicious – lamb’s liver, fried with onions,
green peppers and garlic. I don’t’ usually enjoy
offal, but this really was a testy cut of liver and the garlic
gave it ample richness. In addition to the above we
ordered Karisik Meze, a combination of starters. I
wanted to sample as many dishes from the menu as I could:
Patlican Kizarmta – fried aubergine with yoghurt, onions and
puréed tomatoes and garlic; Humus – chick peas, tahini,
lemon, olive oil and a rumour of garlic; Tabule; Tarma; Yaprak
Muska Borek – freshly fried filo pastry filled with white
cheese, egg and parsley. An absolute odyssey of tastes!
I was very impressed with the creamy Humus, intrigued by the
subtle Dolmasi, but the Muska Borek was my favourite by a
whisker – especially when dipped in Humus.
starters always make you feel hungrier
instead of filling you up, and we were all ravenous after our
hors d’oeuvres. The first main course to arrive was
Tavuk Pirzola, which was, grilled chicken cutlets with rice
and salad. A simple but tasty dish, which owed its
appeal to the quality of the chicken. I’d gone for the
Guvec which is a rich mixture of cubes of lean, succulent
lamb, aubergine, green peppers, tomatoes, onions and a hint of
garlic specially prepared in a clay oven dish.
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It is accompanied by a separate dish of rice and a boat of hot
chilli sauce. This actually resembled a lamb stew,
although with distinctly Turkish ingredients. Aubergines
are usually used in restaurants today as the centrepiece of
dull vegetarian alternatives, but in Turkish dishes like this
one, they are properly cooked to bring out their subtle
flavour. The Guvec made me thirsty, but not for another
beer: I ordered a bottle of Buzbag to accompany our meal.
The climate in Turkey isn’t conducive to fine winemaking,
but they still manage to create reasonable quality stuff like
this. Hefty and fruity it was ideal company for my Guvec.
Meanwhile, a member of my party was tucking in
to a selection of grilled doner, shish, kofte, chicken and
lamb cutlets and a lean mouth watering selection of cuts it
turned out to be. I expect the idea of doner, shish or
kofte kebabs will have many serious gastronauts heading for
the exist, but the quality of the kebabs at Antalya is so far
removed from the kebab bought from the corner chippy.
Another had gone for a Chicken Kebab, which entailed marinated
cubes of chicken with onion, green peppers and mushrooms,
grilled and served with rice. Seasoning on this dish was
light allowing the flavour of the fine fowl to come through
Morsels were swapped, the charcoal-grilling
method was speculated over, glasses were drained and plates
were finally cleared. After a long rest, we asked our
waiter to recommend a few puddings. Baklava and Kadiyaf
are Antalya’s finest Tatlilar (puddings), so we had two of
Kadiyaf is a strange, honeyed pastry, which
looks like thin strands of pasta, but tastes a lot better.
The Baklava, which one friend and I were lucky enough to have
chosen was even better – delicate pastry envelope of
pistachios and honey. If you don’t want desert
there’s always the obligatory fruit course, which involved
fresh melon, orange, apple and kiwi fruit.
We even cleared the fruit platter and actually
went on to enjoy tea, coffee and liqueurs. An Elma Cayi,
(apple tea), for me and three Turk Kahvesi, (Turkish Coffee),
for my friends. My apple tea was unusual – unlike
lemon tea, the fruit was the dominant taste. Nicer than
your average cha any day. We nibbled on chunks of fresh
Turkish delight studded with pistachios and sipped a few
chocolate, citrus or mint Turkish liqueurs to finish our meal.
Sweeter than digestifs but just perfect for a sweet tooth like
I really can’t find any significant fault
with Antalya. Not only is it affordable enough to visit
every week, but the food’s actually very good, too.