When I am in the mood for a little treat, Paasha Turkish Cafe (31 St Andrew Street) is one of my preferred places to go to for a nice meal. The service is always friendly and attentive and the overall ambience is pleasant and comfortable for relaxing and catching up with friends. The primary draw, of course, is the good food. Being a creature of habit, I tried a few things on the menu, struck gold one after one or two visits and have been ordering the same thing ever since – the hummus starter and the Shaslik main. The hummus (chickpea and tahini paste, infused with lemon juice, garlic and oil) deserves a special mention because it is really tasty, goes with everything on the menu and is the best hummus that I’ve had thus far. There is something incredibly satisfying about stuffing yourself with big mouthfuls of the excellent hummus and hot pita bread. My favourite main, the Shaslik, consists of two skewers of beautifully char-grilled, marinated lamb cubes, bell peppers and onions, accompanied with cous cous, pasta salad, salad, hummus, hot pita bread and sauces of your choice (I always ask for the Paasha’s Special, Garlic and Halep sauces). The cubes of lambs are tasty and the fresh, tangy sauces complement them particularly well. My only gripe is that the meat is a little tougher than I would prefer, but the overall experience is such an enjoyable one that it’s one of those things you can just ignore.
Chicken on Rice
I know that this next place is actually already pretty well known for their pizzas and kebabs but I only visited it for the first time this week. I was pleased that they lived up to their reputation, even though I did not get to try their pizzas. Yilmaz (906 George Street) is a quaint little place with a lot of character and heart. Customers are greeted with big, warm smiles, the portions are large, the prices reasonable and best of all, they keep student hours, i.e. 11am – 10:30pm, seven days a week! What better way to warm up on the way home from the library than tucking into a good ol’ beef kebab (a.k.a roll)? I tried the Chicken on Rice, which is marinated chicken served with rice, fresh mixed salad, hummus and your choice of sauces. Unfortunately, on my plate, the hummus was MIA, so I couldn’t, as originally intended, compare it to Paasha’s. The chicken was a little fibrous because they used lean chicken breast, but it and all its accompaniments still made very a good meal. About halfway through it, I didn’t even mind the leanness anymore. I have no complaints, however about the Beef Roll. The roll was large, well filled with salad, hummus, tender, deliciously flavoured meat, and sauces and well toasted. Absolutely scrumptious, and at $9.50, a really good bang for your buck. I’ve also heard good things about the garlic bread and already have a plan of attack for their pizzas.