Sofra Turkish Cafe & Restaurant
We started off with some Hummus and Turkish Bread. The Hummus here is slightly pinkish unlike what I usually make which is a pale cream colour. I couldn't quite figure out what they added to it but I'm guessing that they added just a little paprika or harissa (middle eastern chili paste) to the mixture. Hummus is a pleasant combination of chickpeas, tahini (sesame seed paste) and lemon juice mildly spiced with ground coriander and paprika.
We also shared the Chef's Plate ($14.90) which comprises Doner Kebap (chicken kebap and mixture of beef & lamb kebap), Izgara Kofte (grilled flat meatball), a skewer of Shish Kebap (chicken) served with half a loaf of Turkish Bread. By this time, we were starting to feel pretty full. LB enjoyed the chicken kebap better than the mixture of beef & lamb while I liked both. The chicken kebap was nicely charred at some areas which imparted a smoky flavour to the spice-infused tender grilled bits of chicken. The chicken seemed to have a stronger flavour of the spice marinade than the beef & lamb.
The Izgara Koftes were cold by the time we got to them and so didn't taste as good nor have as soft a texture as I'm sure they would have had if they were warm. I find that meatballs (in any form) should always be taken warm else they will harden as they cool and its harder to enjoy the dish. Izgara Koftes are similar to Chelo Kebabs (which accompanies Persian buttered rice) and Shami Kebabs or Chapli Kebabs in that they're made of ground meat.
I'd always had the impression that Kebabs should take the form of skewers of cubed meat as my prior experience was largely that of eating Shish Kebabs (in Egypt) or that they should be huge chunks of meat rotating on a vertical spit, called Doner Kebabs which are available in many major cities (it was a cheap but tasty meal for students on an exchange programme in France). I learnt from Samia while attending lessons at Coriander Leaf's Cooking School that kebabs were also made from ground meat. Apparently they're also known as Koftes or Koftas (depending on the country). Hmm...kinda like how eggplant is also known as aubergines or brinjals depending on which part of the world you're in?
This article was published by AsiaOne Wine, Dine & Unwind on 11 November 2006.