I was dubious when a less than reputable pub in Birtley was transformed in to a Turkish restaurant but since A La Turka has opened, the reviews have just been consistently good. That was enough for us to pay a visit.
A La Turka is in the old William IV pub on Durham Road opposite Komatsu. There isn’t any onsite parking available but there is other parking available close by and I guess a lot of customers will be local and within walking distance – lucky them!
With stretchy pants on, we wanted to sample the best of what A La Turka had to offer us. The menu was plentiful and had descriptions underneath each dish for the less adventurous souls or those unfamiliar with the dishes.
Between us, we ordered 3 starters and shared. I say shared but Paul kept his starter well guarded and then had to help us finish ours as the portions were larger than expected. When the food is tasty, that is no bad thing.
The Cold Platter (£6.95) was a selection of cold salads – Humous, Cacik, Saksuka, Kisir, Russian Salad & Patlican Ezme all served with crisp turkish breads. We got the platter for 1 person and it was more than enough to share. As it was quite mayo-based, it would have been heavy going for 1. Each salad was fresh and tasty but on hindsight, we’d probably skip this platter the next time as the hot platter was much tastier for us.
The Hot Platter (£8) came with Sucuk,Hellim, Fatafel, Avci Boregi, Sigara Boregi and complimented the cold salad platter. Again, the platter for 1 person was a very generous portion and could very easily have been a lunch dish on its own. We loved everything on the platter with the Avci Boregi, a filo pastry stuffed with mince and the sausage being the winners. The sausage and hummus together was lush!
Paul opted for the Avci Boregi (£4.25) and as we had mini ones on our platter, we left him to it. Absolutely delicious and a very interesting texture to the filling, probably the best way to describe it was the spiced taste and consistency of a samosa but in the shape of a spring roll. We all agreed we would order this again on our next visit without shadow of a doubt. Maybe a dip or sauce on the side would have been nice.
By this point we were slowing down and getting pleasantly full. Just from starters!
For mains, Paul ordered the Musakka (£9.95) and he has not stopped raving about it since our visit. Layers of aubergine and mince were smothered in sauce and then topped with a very light, fluffy almost mousse like béchamel sauce. The portion did look a little small and it is not served with chips or veg on the side but he said it was filling just as it was and no sides were needed…… maybe some bread to mop up the delicious sauce at the end! It isn’t a pretty dish – it’s not just my shonky photography!
The rest of us opted for a main staple, a Chicken Kebab Wrap (£10.95). I was worried that it would be very sickly and heavy with there being cream but I was wrong. The filling was perfect. The chicken and veg mixed well with the savoury cream sauce before being wrapped and baked. The side salad was all we needed with the wrap as it was HUGE. As I’m typing this now, I’d say it wasn’t much shorter than my keyboard! The chilli sauce was flavourful but not too hot, if you order the wrap, please order more chilli sauce – you won’t regret it! For what we thought was going to be a very basic dish, we were very impressed.
With barely any room left, we managed to wedge in a dessert – Baklava (£3.50) Now this is my Mam’s favourite thing ever and I’m not fussed by it but we can both testify that this was incredible. 3 small pieces of pastry absolutely dripping in the signature sweet goo you expect from Baklava. For the price you’d pay at a food market compared to this, it was an absolute bargain. I think I’m a Baklava convert now!
Ok, so the food isn’t overly pretty on the plate but it makes up for that in abundance with taste. Can’t recommend A La Turka highly enough!
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