Wednesday, July 20, 2011
My friend Karen started the Lunch Bunch a few months ago to get friends together to try some of Rome's ethnic restaurants. Ethnic restaurants are not Rome's strong suit, but nonetheless it's nice to dine on something other than Italian fare, fabulous though it is.
Yesterday we had lunch at Topkapi (Via Nomentana 81, tel. 06 4429 2408, firstname.lastname@example.org). Katie Parla briefly reviewed this restaurant back in 2010 when it was known as Antichi Sapori della Turchia. The Turkish Chef Hikmet Ozkaya was the chef at the Turkish Embassy in Rome prior to joining Topkapi.
The dolma (stuffed cabbage and grape leaves) were tasty:
I love Bakla Ezmesi (hummus made with fava beans) and although this dish photographed well it was disappointing. The flavor was bland, and as the dish had been plated hours before it was dried out.
By contrast, the fried calamari (Kalamar) was delicious. Chef Ozkaya's wife, who served us, convinced me to try it based on its Tarator sauce. The sauce was made with equal parts yogurt (homemade in the restaurant) and ground walnuts, chopped dill, garlic, cucumbers and salt. It sounded odd but the chef's wife was so convincing that I opted for it. When I tasted the sauce on its own I didn't like it at all.
The sauce with the calamari was fabulous; a case where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. The calamari were fresh, crisp, tender and cooked to perfection. This is the dish that will bring me back to Topkapi.
I also had a very tasty Barbunya pilaki: borlotti beans with garlic, carrot, tomato paste, olive oil and a touch of peperoncino.
We all shared a simple but tasty chicken and vegetable dish with a rice pilaf.
If you're curious about Turkish cuisine visit Wikipedia or Hayriye's Turksh Food and Recipes.
Posted by Flavor of Italy at 10:02 PM