The palate of Pakistan through a rich culture filled with familial food and the burgeoning fine dining restaurants of its cities.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Afiyet Olsun: Turkish (food) invasion

The opening of Sölen Istanbul could not have come at a better time. Pakistan has become enamored with Turkish soap operas and this is the first legit taste of Behlül (the East’s sedate version of Christian Grey). Personally, the only Turkish man on TV whom I have a soft spot for is Dr. Oz. But that’s another article for another blog.

Sölen has opened where everything else is opening, Dolmen City Mall, Karachi – or as I will call it, for the sake of continuity in this article, Dölmën Mäll. This is the first Turkish eatery to open in Pakistan and I went specifically to try the Döner Kebab, an indigenous Turkish dish made popular by frat boys in the UK after partaking in all-night pub crawls. The Arab shawarma and Greek gyros are said to be variations of the original Turkish Döner. All are prepared on a vertical rotating spit, where the meat (chicken, beef or lamb) is sliced off as it cooks. I had the Beef Tombik Döner Kebab (Rs 350 with a drink) with meager amounts of salad and fries served in a thick pita.

Doner Kebab in pita bread
The Turkish manager was also present but if his stern demeanor was anything to go by, well then, we find all truths about Turkish prisons to be self-evident. I really enjoyed the beef Döner with its tasty meaty filling. I found that it lacked juiciness which would have been easily solved with some sauce or, better yet, beef drippings, anything to soften the pita and make the whole affair less chewy. Yes, what I am trying to say is I like-a da juice!

I will be going back for the Lahmacun (Rs 350 with drink) and the Turkish coffee (Rs 250). Lahmacun was translated to Turkish pizza, basically one guy rolled out a flat round of dough then passed it on to another who added a layer of seasoned mince meat and set it into a pizza oven. All the cooking at Sölen happens in front of you, I always find that exciting and hypnotizing.

Fresh roasted chicken and beef

Other items on the menu include Iskender (Rs 550 with drink); slices of beef in a fiery tomato sauce, Köfte Izgara (Rs 500 with rice, nan and drink), Soslu Tavak (Rs 400 with rice and drink) and other variations of the Döner Kebab. The menu is in Turkish, so you could ask the manager (!) to help you translate. Until then, go with an appetite and taste whatever looks delicious.
Afiyet Olsun!

Behlul aka Turkish Delight
(Aka a shameless way for me to generate traffic on my blog!)


  1. Dear Sister:

    I read you blog with great interest. I have acquired plenty of knowledge from it.
    About me: My name is Muhammad Akmal. I started my business of food & beverage packaging materials. 90 % of my clients are located in Clifton & DHA. Your blogs help me understand Karachi's upscale foodservice industry.
    With best best wishes and prayers.

    Muhammad Akmal
    Arrax Enterprises

  2. Food looks lovely, Thanks for Sharing, Gyro in Karachi