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.
Thankfully, this proved true and I was soon sipping on fresh pineapple juice and flicking through a menu that favours the meat lover. Yes, there is a decent selection of appetisers – hummus, carrot salad and vine leaves – and three soups, but if you want to eat a standout dish, you get the impression that you should veer towards the kebab and grill options.
That said, my friend arrived shortly after and suggested that we also try one of Bosporus’s breakfast items. As she was the instigator of the visit (all plaudits for the following recommendations should go her way), I was happy to agree. The kahvalti platter bought us a neat little selection of dishes: astringent black olives, decent runny honey, apricot jam (which, although pleasant, didn’t taste particularly homemade), chopped tomatoes and cucumber, two slim blocks of beyaz peynir (feta cheese) and last but absolutely not least, a gigantic, puffy dome of sesame seed-speckled Turkish naan, hot from the oven, pockmarked in places and capable of taking up two thirds of the table.
The bread bloomed full of air when it was placed in front us, before slowly deflating as we tore off strips and crumbled cool, salty feta over the surface before dipping it into the honey or jam. Bar the bread, there was no real cooking involved in the dish, but nonetheless it was a simple, enjoyable way to begin the meal.
A crispy, scorched-on-the-surface stuffed pide bread arrived next and was indulgent, ever so slightly oily and really very tasty. The slices of fried beef sucik (a spicy sausage similar to pepperoni) were moist and full of garlic, paprika and cumin-infused flavour – the bread was crisp and the saltiness of the meat was balanced nicely by the melted kasar peynir cheese (similar in taste and texture to milky, mild Gouda).
We waited a long time for the next dish to appear, but after enquiring as to the whereabouts of our Iskender kebab we were soon confronted with a plate bearing a mound of meat. The beef had been marinated in a slightly generic-tasting tomato sauce, before being grilled, sliced into small, thin slivers (some of the them soft, juicy and just a little bit fatty; others charred, chewy and crisp), finished with butter and placed on top of soft bread which acted as a willing sponge that readily soaked up the meat juices and excess sauce. A generous dollop of very thick, off-white yogurt provided relief from the richness of the meat, but even so, a side order of rice went untouched.
Despite being full, after being told that the kunafa was made to order, we decided to share a portion. It was excellent: crunchy, gooey and buttery, cooked to a deeper golden brown than I’ve seen before and, in my opinion, all the better for it.
All that was left to do then was ask for the bill, which came to a very reasonable total and just added to our sense of satisfaction.
A meal for two at Bosporus cost Dh223, including service charge. For reservations, call 04 380 8090. Reviewed meals are paid for by The National and all reviews are conducted incognito.