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Anatolia, authentic Turkish dining

 

You haven’t tried real lambs if you haven’t been to Anatolia.

anatoliacover

This is the place to enjoy Turkish cuisine in Jakarta the old school way: A homestyle meal, an intimate ambiance, and complete with warm service. Nothing posh, nothing fancy.

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Tucked at the edge of Kemang, Anatolia’s modest exterior may not impress you at first glance. But once you’re inside, you’ll be glinting on the riches of the Ottoman from all four walls. Neat tapestries of chinas, paintings, and potteries adorned all corners of the spacious, dim-lit room, and those cyaneous hues are sure to spark your inner adventurist, especially if you’re already craving for something exotic.

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Enjoying my chai.

Before the rise of recent local hit Turkuaz, Anatolia has been in the safe hands of renowned Turkish chef Sezai Zorlu for over a decade. Nothing’s really changed since the founding co-owner left for his own restaurant in 2011, considering how real Turkish foods were meant to be served (i.e. in their unrefined, homemade forms, sans all lavishness).

Just look at the stuff we’ve yielded ourselves to for the night:

hummus

You can’t miss a good ol’ hummus dip if you’re going full-on Turkish – it’s loved and recognized worldwide for its delicious blend of chickpeas, tahini, lemon squeeze, and garlic. Here, you’re served with as much bazlama as you request, with a choice of four toppings:

  • Olive oil
  • Shaved lamb döner kebab
  • Butter sautéd pine nuts
  • Chicken with chili flakes

We had the one with olive oil, and clearly it was 10x better than the chilled, grocery-store-bought ones I used to dip my pita with while living in the States.

Alongside hummus to dip our bazlamas with, we also had the Babaganoush (IDR 45,000) to stuff our face with. A Levantine specialty, the babaganoush is a herbaceous meld of mashed eggplants, tomatoes, chili peppers, garlic, and EVOO, which may not be as sumptuous for the more carnivorous folks, but definitely a win for vegetarians and vegans.

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Layer of deep-fried zucchini and eggplant, featuring cooked veggies in olive oil. Served with pilav.

For our first main dish, we had a generous serving of Sebzeli Musakka (IDR 49,000), or normally dubbed as the vegetarian musakka. It’s certainly the kind of meal you share with your family or with a close-knit group.

The prized eggplant dish came along with a mildly-spiced pilav on the side with peas, closely resembling how it is served in Turkey. When eaten together, the texture falls somewhere in between stews and casseroles, and taste-wise it’s brought Ratatouille to mind. It’s hearty, savory, and I just love how it’s served the homestyle, unadorned way that it is.

I’m not sure whether meat lovers would enjoy the musakka, but the menu enlists a chock-full of meats anyhow, mainly its lauded lamb shank dishes.

DSC02099The house favorite döner kebab, the Iskendar Kebab (IDR 90,000) features a generous fill of overnight-marinated lamb chops, served alongside homemade yogurt and sehriyeli pilav, or vermicellied pilaf.

Originally invented by Iskender Efendi during the late 19th century, the Bursa-style of kebab has become one of the most popular döner dishes in Turkey for the larger cuts of meats. Interestingly, the fat content of Iskender meat is also lower than that of the average döner meat, making it a good choice if you’re watching your triglyceride levels.

This is one of those rare times I actually enjoy eating meat. When dressed in pure sour yogurt and fresh tomatoes, the beefy Iskender tasted unique and delicious. I never thought of yogurt as a dipping sauce before, but now I found a way to get rid of the extra umami under my nose whenever I eat meat.

dessert

Moving on to dessert, the Bademli Cevizli Firindra Seftali (IDR 35,000) is an instant love for just about any lover of the fruit-and-nut combo. Frankly I was sold just by reading it off the menu.

The chewy stuff is made up of almonds, pistachios and walnuts, then blended and naturally sweetened with raisins. And underneath all that nutty grits seats a few ultra sweet slices of baked peaches. They’re soft and moist in all its glory, except perhaps just a wee bit to sweet.turkishdelight

As we rested our backs to let all the food sink in (we were already pretty full by the time the Iskender arrived), I was caught by a pleasant surprise. The waitresses were kind as to leave us with two complimentary pieces of Turkish delights (traditional starchy, rosewater-based confections). Just by looking at the amount of pistachios they’ve dusted on these babies, you can imagine how quickly I melted as soon as I chew my first bite, can’t you?

No doubt I’m coming back here for more, even if it’s just for a single hummus serving.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 7.30.15 PMAnatolia
Kemang
Jl. Kemang Raya No. 110A
Jakarta Selatan 12730
(021) 719 4658
www.nomi-inc.co.id/

Operating Hours
M-S Lunch 11:30am – 02:30pm
M-Th Dinner 06:00pm – 10:30pm
F-S Dinner 06:00pm – 11:30pm
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 


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