Turkish Village is a fitting name for this huge, multi-level structure, which stands imposingly on Jumeirah Beach Road. While the upper floors of this gigantic restaurant were unoccupied when we visited on a Sunday evening, the terrace outside was rammed, and although there were seats available inside, the place was still buzzing.
The setting was attractive and simple, with an elegant bistro vibe and several understated touches of Turkish design. Some very good bread arrived, followed by a complimentary parsley-packed mini lahmacun, aka Turkish pizza. It was so delicious that my friend sheepishly asked for another. The waiter smiled warmly and, in an instant, arrived with more – our first taste of the personable, efficient and friendly service.
Our waiter guided us through the menu and we opted for a selection to share: the Istanbul borek, red lentil soup, Turkish shepherd’s salad, hummus with pastrami, shrimp casserole and konya bread with meat.
As predicted by the waiter, the red lentil soup was very good: buttery and rich, teamed with an aromatic, oregano edge. The Istanbul borek, little pastry twists stuffed with cheese, were delicious, with buttery, spongy insides and a slightly crisp outside. The shepherd’s salad was a fairly standard mix of leaves, but a good one, packed with fresh, crunchy bell peppers, with an ever-so-slight touch of chilli. When asked by the waiter, my friend commented honestly that she found the dressing a little too tangy. So he swiftly took the plate from the table and returned with a toned-down version.
The shrimp casserole was a simple stew with plenty of nicely cooked shrimp and vegetables, covered in a layer of melted cheese, but it wasn’t nearly as exciting as the rest of the plates on the table. In contrast, the hummus was lighter, creamier and nuttier than expected, topped with beautiful shards of dried pastrami that were smoky yet caramel sweet.
Unexpectedly, the konya bread stole the show. It arrived on a giant wooden board as a long, thin, pizza-like bread of almost the same length. Garnished with handfuls of parsley and fresh cherry tomatoes, the juicy meat topping and crunchy bread made this a really enjoyable dish.
Turkish Village is a pleasant spot and the service is so endearingly good, you feel you ought to call the waiter by his first name. The food is good too: well made, fresh and great to eat, and very affordable.
The bill (for two)
1x Turkish shepherd’s salad Dhs18
1x red lentil soup Dhs20
1x Istanbul borek Dhs20
1x shrimp casserole Dhs20
1x hummus with pastrami Dhs15
1x konya bread Dhs55
1x chocolate cake Dhs25
2x large water Dhs24
1x Turkish coffee Dhs8
Total (excluding service) Dhs205
I’d been reliably informed that if you wander past Bosporus, a new-ish Turkish restaurant on Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Road, just as late afternoon turns into evening, you’re likely to find the place abuzz with people. Surprisingly, when I visited in the middle of the day last week, the restaurant was completely empty. I hesitated at the door for a minute or so and briefly wondered if it was even open, but then spotted a chef kneading bread at the back and reasoned that a waiter or two couldn’t be far away.