Last night for no good reason at all K and I, along with some friends, decided to drive to Ottoman Palace, a Turkish restaurant in Midrand. Located in the same compound as the Nizamiye Masjid, one of the grandest and most beautiful structures in Johannesburg, the restaurant is more sedate in comparison.
At the centre of the restaurant dangles a pretty chandelier and when you look up, you notice the beautifully painted ceiling, which is raised and supported by tall pillars on all sides. The walls are adorned with traditional Turkish motifs, which add a little aura and elegance to the place. To one side of the room is the open kitchen, flanked by a beverage counter.
Having eaten at other Turkish places around Joburg, we were really looking forward to the shawarma wraps and dips. Unfortunately, they did not have any of these available. I am guessing that given it was a weeknight, the preparations were limited.
A tad disappointed, we ordered the mixed grill which came highly recommended by friend (as did the shawarma iskender, which was not available). Along with the grill, we ordered a portion of the sucuklu pide – a type of flatbread topped with Turkish sausage and lots of cheese. For starters, the restaurant served us a basket of freshly made Turkish bread, some salad, a yogurt dip and a tomato dip. To wash down all the meat and bread, we also ordered a glass of ayran each, a delicious cold yogurt drink.
The food arrived rather quickly. The grill looked absolutely mouthwatering and consisted of lachmun (mince mixed with spices and veggies served on a thin flat bread), chicken and beef cubes, lamb and chicken chops, a delicious flat kebab made with minced lamb and a bulgur wheat preparation, which I simply could not stop eating. Although the platter does not sound like much, it was enormous and even between four adults (who can really EAT), we found it difficult to finish.
While we enjoyed the food and the ambience of the place, the experience would have been even better had the restaurant served us what we had really gone there to eat. I would recommend eating here if you happen to be in the area or if you have not been to the magnificent mosque. Otherwise, Schwarma Company in Norwood and Istanbul in Fordsburg, offer the same fare (maybe even better!).
Address: Corner of K101 and Le Roux Avenue, Allandale, Midrand, Johannesburg, Gauteng (Nizamiye Masjid complex)
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 12pm to 9pm