Words By Ashavari Baral
In the heart of Cardiff’s hub of international food and culture – City Road – lies a Turkish restaurant called Saray. A friend of mine and I decided to try it out and we were really excited to have our Sunday filled (with food).
We were joined there by Ali and Gizem two lovely Turkish former Cardiff marketing students, who are now working for the restaurant. We had therefore the opportunity to ask questions about the cuisine and the different dishes. Being from Turkey themselves, Ali and Gizem gave us a little bit of back story of Turkish cuisine and how a lot of it has been influenced (and has influenced) a lot of other cuisines in the middle east like Lebanese and Arabic. The restaurant was booming with families with young children, the ambience was friendly and for a rainy day in the ‘diff it seemed like THE place to be. We started off by ordering a cold mezze platter, this included: Tabbouleh (chopped parsley, spring onion, red pepper, tomato cracked wheat and lemon); Babagannus ( a dish of cooked aubergine mixed with peppers, tomatoes and olive oil); Patlican Soslu (aubergine,potatoes and green peppers cooked in tomato sauce with Garlic); Acilli Ezme (tomatoes, peppers, onions, parsley in lemon juice, olive oil, tomato puree and mixed herbs) and finally, Hummus and Tzatziki – a sauce made of yogurt mixed with finely diced cucumbers, crushed mint, salt and garlic. My friend dug in and enjoyed every single portion which resembled tapas, but the ones that really stood out were the Acilli Ezme, Tabule and Tzatziki. The products were fresh and the sauces that complimented them were divine. Of course there was also bread (a special Turkish bread) to better accompanied the several sauces.
Next came the hot mezze platter, which had Muska Boregi,a deep fried milo pastry filled with the softest feta cheese and parsley, Falafel (my friend’s favourite) and Sucuk, which is grilled spicy Turkish beef sausage, the taste was in between pepperoni and a common sausage – really delicious! The Muska Boregi was incredible and I would highly recommend getting these platters as it makes you experience a little bit of everything from the vast range of options Saray has to offer. Saray caters to British foodies, keeping some items mildly spicy as well. So, don’t be worried as these platters are of a good spice level. At this point, Ali looked to us and said: ‘’Are you ready for the main course?’’. In unison almost, my friend and I replied: ‘’Wasn’t that it?’’. Aly laughed and went on to explain that the Turkish usually have a meat dish as their main course; I was really intrigued as I am a huge meat head. We ordered two giant mixed grills that consisted of lamb, beef and chicken shish kebab, all of this was just £13.90 an incredible value for money as I shared it with my friend and we still had food left over that we could possibly take way. We made our way to the spectacular ‘’Mixed grill’’ that had lamb, chicken and beef. A meat lovers paradise. The lamb was minced to perfection and the beef was soft and buttery.
We ended our meal with some strong Turkish tea and Baklava. But the thing that took the cake (the literal cake) was Kunefe, it had two layers of shredded dough which was combined with syrup and a special Turkish melted cheese, topped up with grounded pistachio. It was divine; I highly recommend it!
Overall, Saray is an authentic family and student friendly Turkish restaurant to go to for your fill of good wholesome Turkish delicacies. The tea and baklava are complementary and student can avail 10% discount. So, if you’re craving some good and traditional Turkish food or if you are just a lover of good middle eastern cuisine, Saray is the place to be; we are definitely going back again.
164-166 City Road, Cardiff, CF24 3JE
Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday 12pm – 12am
[email protected] 029 2025 2350