Ben MitchellComment

Miss Istanbul Review: Better in Concept

Ben MitchellComment
Miss Istanbul Review: Better in Concept

$25 per person
The Lane, Ponsonby Central, 4 Brown Street, Auckland
http://www.missistanbul.co.nz/

Fifteen years ago, one day in Turkey was all it took for me to fall in love with the country and its food. Beautiful fish, dips, fresh vegetables, breads and meats...it struck all the right notes. Sadly as a short vacation, I had to leave, yet I kept a longing for more Turkish food. If there is one cuisine that's sorely underrepresented in the West it's Turkish (and Middle Eastern in general).
So hearing about the opening of Miss Istanbul got me excited, really excited.

Echoing the same clean, laid back vibe as the rest of Ponsonby Central, the restaurant's benches give you full view of the small kitchen. Decorated with what I assume are Turkish ornaments, with Turkish music on the radio, the scene instantly brought me back to Turkey. I was chocked full of anticipation.
The menu was simple featuring classic kebabs, dips, breads and a few other items. We ordered the Mummas kitchen table, durum wrap (aka kebab), baclava and rose turkish delight to share.

The wait staff seemed a little hectic and preoccupied, opening jitters? The chef however was concentrated and quickly served our food. The Mummas kitchen table was akin to a English breakfast with a Turkish twist. Pide instead of toast, fig jam instead of ketchup, sujuk instead of sausage. It made for a satisfying, diverse meal but nothing on the plate was exceptional nor inspired. 
The durums wraps followed suit: bland in their execution, not to mention the large beef chunks were incredibly tough and hard to chew.
The baclava and Turkish delight were good, but without wow factor. 

Despite my initial excitement, Miss Istanbul played more to my nostalgia than it's ability to deliver exciting, vibrant Turkish food. While the food was inoffensive, and the decorations awesome, it was an experience worth trying once, and once only.

6/10