Archive for the ‘ Turkish ’ Category

IstanbEl FalafEl

My Dad used to cut my hair until I was about 16 or so. I’m not certain that the result was all that much help in attracting potential girlfriends.* The vague relevance of this Dad haircutting revelation is that I walked past Snips in Middle Abbey Street (the site of my first non-pudding bowl haircut in 1976) on my way to my latest eatforafiver venue.

snips

It’s looking a bit battered but it’s still in business.

My eatforafiver venue of choice is of a much more recent vintage.

Extuse

Google didn’t believe the spelling, asking politely if I meant Istanbul. But there it is, in red and white, at 10 Lower Liffey Street, just a couple of doors down from the Food Emporium and the Gin Palace.

To me, Lower Liffey Street is like a corridor that you have to go through to get from the Ha’penny Bridge to Henry Street. The shops have no sense of permanence, apart from the enthusiastically evangelical Games Workshop with its bespectacled, black t-shirted and acne’d patrons endlessly strategising on behalf of their plastic orc armies.

I don’t know how long Istanbel has been there but a Google search showed that it was established as a company just over a year ago.

Its food offerings are plastered brightly all over the outside of the building, with more on the backlit panels behind the serving area. It caters for a broad range of tastes, offering kebabs, pizza, burgers, chips, a range of Indian and Thai curries, and Mediterranean/Turkish staples such as falafels, Lahmacun, Kofte and Baklava.

I was greeted warmly by the woman behind the counter and I ordered the falafel plate and handed over my fiver. I took a seat beside a massive wall mirror that makes the place look twice as big as it is, and had a look around. There were only two other patrons. Well, two and a half really: a couple with a baby.

Inside, it’s clean and bright but a little spartan.

Int02

Not a venue for a romantic evening but not a bad place for a quick bite and a chat, or to fill up in if you happen to be passing. At a guess (lazily, I didn’t count), it seats about 24 but I’d say a lot of its trade is take-away.

My falafel plate arrived …

food01

… with its salad

TheSalad

pickled chilli (I love those)

PickledChilli

and, under the bread, my falafels.

Falafels

There were also two sauces in one ramekin: a garlic mayonnaise and a VERY mild chilli sauce.

As you’ll see, my falafels were the doughnut type, with the hole in the middle. I understand that the purpose of this design is to allow more of the outside of the falafel to come in contact with the hot oil thereby making it crunchier. To be honest, I prefer the traditional type, made with the miniature ice cream scoop but that’s just me. I’m not that fussed about crunch. They tasted, well, falafel-y and not at all greasy.

As for the rest, the salad was fresh and crisp and the pickled chilli was as you might expect. The garlic mayonnaise I kept tasting for the rest of the day. The flatbread, however, was excellent.

This was a pleasant lunchtime snack, in a clean if rather featureless venue, served efficiently and pleasantly. If I was looking for a good value and reasonably healthy snack and I happened to be in the area, I’d go back to Istanbel rather than some of the places in the food emporium a few doors up the street.

I was there last Wednesday. Later in the evening, I was back in the area being dragged (willingly, to be honest) by Jacko, an old college pal, to The Academy to see Blackberry Smoke do their stuff. They were hairy and authentic, and it was a most enjoyable evening. What intrigued me were the fans. Blackberry Smoke is hardly a household name but the majority of the crowd (mostly men in dark t-shirts, aged between 45 and 60) were singing along to every song. They opened with this:

 

__________________________

*that is if you don’t count Maeve, with whom I almost shared a kiss in a nettled laneway when we were 9. It certainly doesn’t include Susan, however, who dragged me on to a bed when I was 10 and gave me an unrequested and unwanted wet kiss, the memory of which, to be honest, still has me a bit traumatised.

 

Share

Ephesian Revelation

The real Ephesus seems to have been a pretty significant place. Inhabited from about 6000 BCE, it developed from the Bronze age onwards, and throughout history it has been a seat of learning, political intrigue, evangelism and architecture. It’s now a tourist hot spot.

The Capel Street one appears to be suffering some sort of an identity, or at least branding, crisis. The last time I saw it, it was VERY definitely called Ephesus, in big red letters. Now it’s called Ephesus in small white ones, and the ‘Capel Kebab and Pizza House’ in big white ones.

2013-10-17 13.38.34

Whatever. It’s been on my mental list of eatforafiver places to visit for ages and so it got done today.

Most things on the menu are a fiver or just a little bit more, as you can see (as ever, click to embiggen) …

2013-10-17 13.39.19

And there’s this …

2013-10-17 14.06.47

The item that intrigued me most was the Turkish Pizza (Lahmacun) just because I’d never heard of it before. It wasn’t available unfortunately. The main man behind the counter (who was most welcoming and friendly) said that it may be available sometime after Christmas. I suspect it’s not a big seller. The other item that caught my eye was the Ayran which is a Turkish yoghurt drink with salt, a little like the Indian lassi. They didn’t have any of that either. No matter.

I chose the Falafel, in the Kebab section. I was told it included some salads and flat bread and was invited to take a seat. The warming process complete, I was asked to choose which salads I wanted (I took the lot) and was handed my plate of food.

2013-10-17 13.49.59

There it is. That’s a pretty sizeable feed for a fiver. Six warm falafels, shredded lettuce, non-mayonnaise slaw, shredded red cabbage, sliced tomatoes, sliced onion, a couple of pickled chillies, and some garlic and chilli sauce. With the promised flatbread.

The salad items were crisp and fresh and the flatbread was warm and soft. I’ve eaten quite a few falafels over the last few years but I wouldn’t consider myself to be an expert on them. These ones were OK. They were crispy on the outside and had a pleasant consistency inside. Yer man in Dublin Falafel Hunt rated the falafels in Ephesus pretty highly and he eats them all the time, so I’m not going to be at all judgemental about them.  For a fiver, this was a decent plate of food and that’s what this is all about.

It seems to be a pretty popular place. I was there just after half one and there were about 10 people in it with a few more drifting in when I was there. It’s bright and clean, with big windows on two sides through which you can watch the world go by. The man and woman behind the counter were kept busy. I left, full, satisfied and with a pleasant chilli tingle on my tongue. This place is a good option if you’re at that end of Capel Street (it’s at the junction with Upper Abbey Street), you’re hungry and you only have a fiver to spend.

 

So …

Sad to say, one of the places I ate in not too long ago, Flavor (sic) on Camden Street has closed. I have a hunch that it never quite identified its market. Pity.

 

And for students: just around the corner from Capel Street, on Ormond Quay, is quite a new Brazilian place …

2013-10-17 14.10.35

I seem to remember this used to be an art gallery. It’s HUGE, has a buffet lunch offer …

2013-10-17 13.36.28

… and, if you’re a student (and have your student card on you), it seems as if you can stuff your face for a fiver. The buffet is downstairs and the queue for it today was massive.

 

Finally: question of the day. You see this woman on the right …

Sabina Coyne

She’s married to President Higgins and her name is Sabina Coyne.  Or rather, her name WAS Sabina Coyne. Since her husband became President, she’s almost universally referred to as Sabina Higgins. What’s that all about?

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: