THE liberal use of olive oil in Turkish cuisine makes it easy to appreciate the simplicity of its flavours.
Zeytinyagli Enginar featuring artichokes braised in olive oil is one such example.
Its mushy texture is a tad briny but goes well with Lahana Sarma, which is rice served on cabbage leaf.
This dish among many others are representative of authentic Turkish flavours in the Turkish Cuisine Week hosted by the Turkish Embassy until May 27 at Lemon Garden, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.
A buffet spread of 35 dishes have been lined up to replicate the experience one gets at a gourmet Turkish restaurant.
Diners can start with Visneli Yaprak Sarma, which is rice wrapped in grape leaf that helps preserve its freshness.
The rice mixed with sour cherries and diced onions is mixed with black pepper before being sauteed in olive oil.
The presentation is simple but its smoky taste and sticky texture leaves a lasting impression.
This dish pairs well with Acili Ezme, a salsa with a balance of sweet and sour flavours.
The rice has a slight minty taste which complements its piquancy – a perfect warm-up for the palate before proceeding to the main course.
Other appetisers include Patlican Salatasi (eggplant salad), Arnavut Cigeri (fried lamb liver) and Cerkev Taguvu (chicken breast with garlic sauce).
As a main course, the Hunkar Begendi, a lamb stew served alongside some eggplant puree, is a show stealer.
The creamy and velvety puree nicely complements the meat which falls apart at the touch of a fork.Also holding its own as a main is Balik Bugulama, steamed seabass with vegetables.
Delicate but succulent, this must-try dish is fine on its own or paired with rice.
Tandir, lamb leg cooked at a low temperature, is a main course treat that is not to be missed.
The cooking process results in meat with a touch of smokiness and is perfect with the Ic Pillav, rice with lamb liver and sultanas.
Izmir Kofte (minced beef stew), Tavuk Sis (chicken skewer), Kuzu Sis (lamb skewer) and Kadinbudu Kofte (fried minced lamb with rice) are some of the other mains.
Worth mentioning as well is Coban Salatasi, which comprises vegetables served with feta cheese and Kalamata olives.
The dessert selection is no less stellar, starting with Su Muhallebisi – rose water pudding with a gooey but firm texture.
It has a bittersweet taste, which makes it a perfect choice after a hearty meal.
For something crunchier, try the Cevizli Baklava and Fistikli Baklava, which are layered pastries filled with chopped nuts that are caramelised in syrup.
It is worth noting that Cevizli Kabak which is pumpkin confit with walnut has a chewy texture.
Other desserts available include Sekerpare (pistachio biscuits with syrup), Firin Sutlac (baked rice with milk pudding), Irmik Helvasi (semolina halwa) and Muhallebi (milk pudding).
The buffet is priced at RM168nett (Tuesday to Thursday) and RM188nett (Friday to Sunday) for lunch.
The dinner meal is priced at RM188nett (Tuesday to Thursday) and RM248nett (Friday to Sunday).
For reservations, email email@example.com or call 019-390 2257.
For details, visit turkishcuisineweek.com
LEMON GARDEN, Lobby Level, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2074 3900, ext 1358). Business hours: 7am to 10pm daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.