We are no strangers to Çanak Kebap & Katmer in Göztepe, having had last year’s dinner at this low-key restaurant too. While the overall ambiance is low-key and family-friendly (If the big screen TV on the wall where you can watch the kids in the play room is not a sign, I don’t know what is!), the tastes rival high-end hot spots.
I have to also admit it was only with last year’s dinner, I was introduced to the taste of the famous Gaziantep cuisine, incidentally rich in one of my favourite nuts – pistachio. Hence, when I heard we were heading back to Çanak for Uncle and Aunty’s New Year’s family gathering, I wasn’t complaining.
The dinner, as is the case for any Turkish dinner, started with a range of mezes (starters): aubergine salad, Haydari (made with yoghurt and garlic), salad topped with a generous helping of walnuts and my personal favourite, Çiğ Köfte, raw ground meet mixed with fine bulgur, spices and vegetables, wrapped in fresh lettuce and more fresh vegetables! All was served with just-out-of-the-oven fresh pide (flatbread). Çiğ Köfte was absolutely amazing, with a real spicy after taste just hitting the spot for chilly lovers.
This was also the time for the whole family to catch up with the latest news as we all tucked into the starters and shared a few jokes.
About 45minutes in, the mains were served. I opted for my trusted Beyti, made of ground lamb, wrapped in lavash and served with yoghurt. Yes, despite the other half’s protestations, more yoghurt indeed! Well, you can take the girl out of Turkey but you can’t take Turkey out of the girl! He opted for fıstıklı kebap kebab made with pistachios), another Gaziantep speciality.
Then of course came the most expected part of any Turkish dining experience: the Turkish tea. Followed by of course a selection of fruits and nibbles including of course Gaziantep’s staple, pistachios.
Of course I couldn’t say no to washing it all down with a cup of strong Menengiç coffee, made with hackberries, the fruit of the trees indigenous to the mountainous regions of inland and eastern Turkey. If you ever get the chance I suggest you give this one a go even if you give the tea a pass.
Overall it was a fun family night out with good food and great conversation. I am sure we will be heading back to Çanak once again and enjoy the homely feel as much as the delicious dishes.