The Turkish cuisine has to be my absolute favorite and there is no shortage of excellent fine dining Turkish spots in Dubai. I recently headed to Kaftan Restaurant, located right opposite Wild Wadi and a favorite among the hip crowd of Jumeirah, to see if it holds a candle to any of the restaurants in the city.
Ambiance: Opulent and regal were the first things that came to my mind as soon as I stepped into the restaurant – the generous use of red, gold and wooden furniture made it reminiscent of the fine dining spots that dotted Istanbul’s swanky Baghdad Street. In more pleasant weather, the outdoor seating is gorgeous too with views of the Burj Al Arab.
What we had: We started off on a high note with a selection of cold starters including Hummus, Patlican Sogurme (Olive oil marinated in artichoke bottoms), Eginar Gobegi and Yogurtlu Semizotlu (yogurt blended with garlic and parsley) [25 AED each]. The organic ingredients of the starters paired with the hot and fluffy Turkish bread made each dish a flavorful delight.
The hot starters we tried included Kasap Sucuk (Sujuk) Isgara (chargrilled spicy Turkish beef – 40 AED) and Has Pacasi (lamb meat on a bed of rice – 45 AED). The quality ingredients and the excellent presentation shone through in both the starters: the tender and zingy Sucuk had to be the best I’ve had in Dubai while the fragrant rice of Has Pasaci was a perfect complement to the lamb.
The bar was set very high for the main course and the ‘Ottoman Delicacies’ (the restaurant’s term for the mains) surely didn’t disappoint. The Dana Kadayif (strings of beef served with wafer-thin and crunchy Turkish spaghetti -120 AED) is for die-hard beef fans only – the beef was tender and delicious but the ‘spaghetti’ didn’t prove to be a good complement to it. The Islim Kebab (Lamb cubes wrapped with fried eggplant – 95 AED) was well worth the royal connections though – the quality of the lamb was extraordinary and the soupy tomato sauce added a tangy note to our palette.
The puff-pastry dessert filled with cream and pistachios – Simit Katmer (50 AED) – was a complete winner too and transported me right back to the swanky streets of Istanbul. The crispy texture of the pastry, the aroma of the pistachios and the creamy filling oozing out – everything about this dessert was a delight for the taste buds.
Service: Despite the busy Saturday afternoon, the service was worthy of the food’s standard too with all the waiters giving detailed descriptions of each dish and its relevance to Turkish culture
Highs: 5-star standard decor and food
Lows: 5-star standard price too – a meal for two costs more than 350 AED on average
Verdict: It’s easy to see why the rich and famous of Dubai frequently visit Kaftan: it’s grandiose interiors paired with quality, classic Turkish food made from mostly organic ingredients make it a must-visit!
For reservations, call 04 2753062 or visit their website