Nelson @ Cappadocia: We were attracted to this restaurant because they had a huge fire sitting on high. Dumb reason, but it's true. The regional specialty here is the Testi Kebab which is meat and vegetables slow cooked in a sealed clay pot. But how do you get your food from a sealed pot?
I'm starting with the apps as we'll find the answer soon enough. We started with Meze Tabagi (Mixed Mezes, which are like small appetizers or tapas) and included yoghurt with dill, hummus, hot pepper paste, vegetable patty, Circassian chicken and stuffed leaves. Looks like we got more than was advertised on the menu. My favourite was the tomato based one at the top right as the flavour was strong, but balanced with a bit of spice. The chutney in the middle was Kitty's favourite. The chicken was tasted similar to a western style chicken salad. THe hummus was chunkier than usual, the dill even though hard to see tasted strongly in this dish and the stuffed leaves were really sour.
Soon we would learn that bread is served at every Turkish meal. The bread with a bit of sesame is pretty plain, yet I really enjoyed it throughout the trip. It was comforting to know that this type of bread would be guaranteed to be served.
Also, the bread goes great with the mezes and I used it as an accompaniment.
So back to the main attraction. The testi kebab is sealed with bread (or foil) on top, but the bread is not meant to be eaten. As you can see it is literally burnt. Although there is a groove in the middle, the clay pot is sealed.
After setting it down, the waiter came back with a small hammer and delicately hammered the clay pot apart revealing the saucy inner goodness. That link has a video showing the nice surprise when the food is revealed. The pots are used once and as we walked around town, restaurants would proudly display used pots used to served Testi kebab.
Inside is a mix of vegetables and your choice of meat including Lamb (24 tl), Beef (24 tl) and Chicken (22 tl). It was similar to a stew with some unique spices. The chicken I found really plain, and the beef was typical, but I liked the lamb the best. It was slightly gamey but had the best overall flavour. Although the way it was served was really unique the ingredients tasted much as you would expect they would and pot didn't really add anything, except for...
...small pieces of clay pot in the food. I had the beef pictured here. It didn't spill out with juices like the other one did, but on the plus side I had very little of the pot in my food. Everyone else had bits of clay pot in their food, which I suppose is the downside to this dish.
It was also served with rice that had some streaky stuff mixed in with it that seem like they were noodles. We tried the local kapadokya (70tl) red win as well.
Pots are used once. Hammer used to open it. Was like stew with a few different spices. Rice was good too with some streaky stuff inside it. Lamb was a little gamey but I would have eaten it.chicken too plain. Cake stuff was neutral
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