Tired of your staple Western-Nanjing variety and looking for something else to spark your senses? Perhaps an ancient blend of cheese, bread, spices and grilled meat? If your answer is yes, then get yourself down to this restaurant serving outstanding traditional south-eastern Turkish cuisine, the Turkish Doner & Kebab.
Starting us off with two glasses of hot Turkish tea served with white sugar cubes, which warmed us up on what was a rather chilly autumn day, part-owner, Cherry, from Mongolia, served us our first dish, Cigarette Bread (Sigara Boregi); deep fried pastry wrapped cheese and parsley. Don’t let the name put you off; while cigarette shaped indeed, that inside is melt-in-your mouth cheese in a light crispy pastry.
As we had decided to dine at noon, the restaurant had few customers, which allowed for speedy service. Seating upstairs is spacious, considering the venue’s size, while the cutlery, cups and bathroom are all kept in fine hygienic condition. A mixture of modern and traditional Turkish music played in the background, as our next dish was being served; Turkish Flat bread (Lahmacun), comprising tiny pieces of meat, tomato and onions on a thin slice of toasted bread.
Thankfully, our tea came with a pot, which we used in between dishes during our long lunch, to help wash down our food, in order to try more; it was absolutely too good not to! Owner Yusaf, who originates from the northwestern region of Bursa, Turkey, explained to me that food tourism in Turkey is now found in the southeastern region of the country, famous for Donar meat, that which also mostly features on his menu.
Tahini, lemon, olive oil and chickpeas make up the restaurant’s Hummus dish, served with wrapping bread for dipping. It is recommended to come to the restaurant sometime after noon or for dinner for two reasons;
(i) The kebab meat traditionally takes a little longer to cook, so wait times may vary from 20-30 minutes.
(ii) The dishes are so filling, you won’t want to do anything for the rest of the day.
We can certainly attest to that statement, as next up, the Mixed Kebab! Holy smokes, this mixed meaty delight is advertised on the menu for two people, however, the restaurant will charge accordingly, if ordered for one person. The manly main is a mixture of beef donna, lamb chops, chicken and lamb kebab, chicken wings, rice and vegetables.
By this point, we were ready to keel over and take a nap right then and there. However, soldiering on to dessert, our socks were knocked off by the Kunefeh; a traditional Arab dessert, made with minuscule shredded pastry soaked in a sugary syrup and layered with a type of goat’s cheese suitable for desserts and crushed pistachios. Need I say anymore?
Given our very relaxed state, it was clear we had settled in and felt right at home, Cherry suggested we finish with a glass of Salep, a warming traditional Turkish drink made from milk, orchard flowers and cinnamon.
Dishes range from ¥28 to ¥100 to keep the prices down, while most food and drink on the menu is authentically Turkish, including beverages. Bursting with flavour and oozing with authentic flare， it is easy to forget you are in China, when visiting Nanjing’s most authentic middle eastern dining experience.
Turkish Donar Kebab 土耳其多拿餐厅 is located at 2-82 Wenfan Lu, Xianlin 仙林文范路步行街2-82. Tel: 13515110936.