As a student I lived on London’s Green Lanes, a street lined with Turkish Cypriot groceries and restaurants. It was here I was introduced to crispy flatbread, stuffed peppers and baklavas.
It was the kind of straightforward, wholesome fare you could probably reproduce at home, if you had the time or inclination, but was so cheap - even by student standards - that it just made sense to buy it ready-made. Kismet Turkish Cafe on Albert Cuypstraat is like those restaurants.
Kismet's window is filled with trays of food that beckon you in, like a kid to a sweet shop. Once inside, you are directed to one of the small tables on a mezzanine level with an elevated view of the street.
The food is organised into menus, with ten meat and four vegetarian options. For €10 or so, you can choose from aubergines overflowing with well-seasoned minced lamb, roasted courgettes topped with tangy feta cheese, moussaka or oven-baked cod.
All the menus come with vegetables and rice or potatoes. For a couple more euros, indulge in a sticky pastry or piece of Turkish delight.
Portions at Kismet Turkish Cafe are belt-busting, and as everything is prepped in advance, the food arrives within minutes. Unfortunately it is heated in the microwave, which tends to turn once-crispy veg into soggy mush.
This is the major flaw of an otherwise excellent little Turkish eatery, where you feel like you’ve stumbled into someone’s living room unannounced and been welcomed with open arms and a hot meal.
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