In the news today, a man lost his sight in one eye after he’d been stabbed in that eye by a beggar that followed him into a restaurant in Handsworth. I hope that this doesn’t stop you from going out to eat in this neighbourhood as there are some really good ethnic restaurants there. Which has been bolstered by the addition of a Turkish one called Istanbul Restaurant.
It’s been open two months and I only found it by chance driving from The Farcroft to The Grove in my Indian Pub Grill Roundup. It was like a beacon because Turkish food is seriously underrepresented in this city, we have a couple of Persian but aside from the ubiquitous doner kebab you’ll be hard pressed to find a freshly char-grilled Adana kebap here. Adana, a city in the south of Turkey is where the owners are from and is also the name of the popular spicy minced lamb skewer. As you enter the restaurant you can see the fresh skewers laid out and might think it’s just another kebab shop. But if you hang around you’ll see little things that sets them apart. Like the way they prepare bread, grilling and pressing the hot charred lamb fat into it, they know what there doing. It comes warm, heavily scented with that fat and herbs, whilst you wait for your meat to the grilled. The salad that comes with the bread is fresh, vibrant and dripping with pomegranate molasses that puckers your mouth and makes you salivate, getting you ready for the deliciously grilled meat. I’ve only tried the Adana and Lamb ribs so far and can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.
Istanbul is one of the world’s culinary capitals and what I had in Handsworth took me right back there. It’s real Turkish food and it can now be found in Birmingham.
2 Stockwell Rd, Handsworth, Birmingham B21 9RJ (on the junction of Rookery rd and Oxhill Rd)
Tel: 0121 4485223