Showing posts with label mixed grill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mixed grill. Show all posts

A La Turk (Toronto)


Good luck getting a table at A La Turk without a reservation. I’ve learnt this the hard way – trying to secure one last minute or stopping by after work hoping to hear seats for two are vacant. It hasn’t happened yet.

It may be their complimentary bread and dip platter. It takes a lot of willpower not to just tear into the hot puffed pita that arrives fresh from the oven. Indeed, I often lose and suffered from slightly singed fingers.


Yet, it’s that steaming toasted pita with a slather of cool dip that gets you excited for the rest of the meal. There seems to always be a garlicky creamy spread, a sweeter carrot one, and a zesty and slightly spicy tomato dip (it’s my favourite_. The fourth condiment can vary between a lightly pickled vegetable or zucchini tzatizki.

Mix a couple of dips together to create something really good, but also save them for pairing with main dishes. They went nicely with the mixed kebab ($36) platter where the chicken wing was grilled beautifully but lacked seasoning. A dip in the creamy garlic sauce saved the wings and made it sing.

Meanwhile, the kabab didn’t need a thing, the mixture was filled with herbs and a bit of chili and so flavourful that you’d want to leave it plain. Since it’s cooked on the grill, there was a bit of smokiness but restrained enough that the kebab’s meaty herb flavours could still be enjoyed. The lamb chop was overdone, but remained moist and delicious, a bit of lemon zest would make it even better. Lastly, the dish is finished off with cubes of steak cooked medium… it’s good, after all, it’s steak.


The side of bulgur rice reminded me of a softer dirty rice. It definitely could use more salt, but with some of the saved tomato chili dip, it was fantastic. Plenty of veggies finish off the dish so you can mix and match the garnishes with the meat. Even the puffy bread the meats rest on is worth a taste, it’s soft and flavourful having soaked in the lovely juices.

If a platter of grilled meat isn’t your thing – sorry we may not be able to dine together - A La Turk has a number of dishes that combine proteins on a more balanced basis. The stuffed eggplant ($12) is something I order every time. Soft and meaty, the eggplant is filled with bell pepper and walnut pomegranate paste for sweetness and ground beef for a savoury element and texture. It’s so good that I may order one for myself in subsequent visits.


That bit of texture is sadly what’s missing from the koro dolme ($12) that takes peppers and eggplant stuffing them with a thick mushy rice. It really needs something else in the filling to add a bit of bite, or at the very least, cooking the rice less and incorporating more spices and herbs. In its current form, it was too sweet and tangy for me.


Having had manti ($25), a Turkish style dumpling, at other restaurants, A La Turk’s version wasn’t the strongest. The dough was too thick and the filling in miniscule portions that it almost tastes like you’re eating gnocchi with yoghurt. Less of the tart garlicky sauce and more texture within the dumpling could improve the dish.


The sarma beyti ($28) takes a seasoned veal and lamb kebab and adds tons of gooey cheese and eggplant and wraps it in dough before baking it in the wood oven. While I’d always lean towards sharing the mixed grill platter, this dish is a close second and is a hot sandwich at its finest.


Whatever you do, save room for dessert. Their kunefe ($8 for the small) takes time to prepare, but you really want them to not rush this. It turns out best when they cook it on a lower temperature so the vermicelli noodles turn a crispy golden brown and the cheese melts into a gooey blob but the syrup doesn’t burn yet.


It’s a sweet that can sometimes be a miss, on one visit the charred bits around the edges gave the dessert a bitter bite. But more times than not it’s that sugary, crispy finish that makes you yearn for more. It might explain A La Turk’s popularity: the fresh pita and dip starting off the meal on a strong note, while the kunefe ending it with a sweet finish. Pick up the phone to make that reservation.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 3443 Yonge Street 
 Website: http://alaturk.ca/

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


A La Turk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Cafe Hollywood 荷里活餐廳 (Markham)


Café Hollywood is glitzier than the traditional Hong Kong-style café: the mega wattage signage that makes the restaurant a breeze to spot while driving or the two huge Oscar statutes flanking the doors. Their food, on the other hand, is merely the same with an extensive menu of inexpensive and plentiful options.

If you ever need a cheap date night, Café Hollywood has you covered. For under $20, the dinner combos include a soup, salad, accompanying starch (either rice, spaghetti, or French fries) and coffee or tea.

Sure, the small handful of spring mix with tart soy vinaigrette is a sad excuse for a salad … if you can even classify it as a salad, but the soup as bad – especially since it comes with a hot dinner roll that’s a pillow of sweet doughy goodness. Excuse me while I inhale the best part of the meal.  


To be fair, the “Russian” borscht is a far stretch – there’s no beets, caraway seed or onions in the soup. Rather, the Chinese version is tomato based and has a spicy kick to it, with the only common ingredient being cabbage. At Hollywood, theirs doesn’t even incorporate potatoes so it’s a rather watery affair aside from the oddly oily sheen (perhaps from chili oil) on top. There’s also a simple cream version made with chicken soup and dairy. No hearty soups here.


Yet, no one’s going for the starters. What patrons are waiting for is the main: a humungous plate of food that leaves you wondering if you can finish it and how you’ll feel the next day, if you did. Take the Hollywood mixed grill ($15.95) - it’s a mountain of meat: a pork chop, chicken thigh filet, slice of Korean beef rib, hot dog, and bacon. Having had a bite of my friend’s beef rib, it was good and I could easily have a plate of these on their own. Her only complaint was the uneven temperature of the proteins, some tepid or cool, likely from being mass produced for other dishes.


The same could be said for the Angus sirloin steak ($19.95), which arrived completely rare in the middle. Although I take my steak medium rare, it was still too undercooked for my taste, so a portion was left uneaten. Of course, I could have asked for it to be re-fired, but getting someone’s attention isn’t the easiest and since it was already smothered in gravy, putting it back onto the grill isn’t the easiest affair.

Nonetheless, the outer ring I ate was decent for the price. Obviously, the Angus flavour wasn’t as rich as dry aged versions. However, even undercooked it was relatively tender despite the dull useless steak knives given. In hindsight, my friend made a good point that it’s likely a miscommunication due to how we ordered: generally Chinese customers will request their meat’s doneness based on a percentage – so I should have requested it to be 50% done (rather than medium rare).

Luckily, there were plenty of fries to fill me up – once again, the run-of-the-mill frozen variety – but, warm and crispy enough to be satisfying (especially dipped into gravy). I only wondered how their frozen vegetables could be so dry, when these normally arrive water logged and soggy. Even the gravy couldn’t save these.

Café Hollywood isn’t going to bring home an award for Best Hong Kong-style café in Toronto anytime soon. Yet, there’s aspects of the restaurant that’s commendable: the large dining room that allows them to take reservations and their unhurried attitude (we stayed for almost two hours on a Friday – an unheard of time compared to competitors). Next time I’d stay with the traditional dishes – the baked rice looked delicious and baskets of fried wings seem popular. When it comes to a Hong Kong-style café, the glitzy offerings may be a poor choice.

Overall mark - 6.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Markham, Canada
 Address: 7240 Kennedy Road

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more - https://twitter.com/GastroWorldBlog
____________________________
Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


Is That It? I Want More!

Other Gastro World posts similar to this:


Cafe Hollywood Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato