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Ontario (inc. Toronto) Turkish

A New Turkish Restaurant in Town (Long Review)

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A New Turkish Restaurant in Town (Long Review)

Juniper | Jul 27, 2004 02:48 PM

The rumour was that there was some in-fighting at Anatolia, and some of the kitchen staff there defected and opened their own restaurant. The new place is called the Richview-Turkuyum Restaurant, and is located at 290 The West Mall, in Etobicoke.

The location is awful. 290 The West Mall is a dilapidated plaza leftover from the 70s in a quiet residential area, just west of the 427. To make matters worse, you can't actually see the restaurant from the road because it's tucked into an alley on the SW end of the plaza.

We entered into the restaurant and were immediately confused. The decor was drab and faded 70s English Tudor pub/tea-room, with the flowery upholstery and clientele to prove it (the only other patrons in the dining room apart from us were senior Anglo-types, dressed in their pink skirt suits and hats). Attempts were made to 'Turk-ify' the place, with the odd kilim hung on the walls.

The menu also confused us at first glance. The first items we saw on the menu upon opening it were Bruschetta, Fried Clams with Seafood Sauce, and Fish and Chips. We flipped the page and thankfully found a rather modest list of Turkish menu items.

The mezes (appetizers) list included such standards as hommos, patlican ezmezi (eggplant puree), domates ezmezi (tomato dip), cigara boregi (fried pastries filled with cheese), and yaprak sarmasi (cold stuffed grape leaves).

We ordered a plate of mixed dips and the stuffed grape leaves. The plate of dips had hommos, patlican ezmezi, domates ezmezi, and haydari (pressed yogurt). The dips were all passable, though the haydari was the best of the lot with a good balance of garlic and mint. Nothing mind blowing, however.

The stuffed grape leaves were wholly disappointing. Instead of the traditional rice, raisins, and pine nut stuffing, the leaves were stuffed with rice only. And that would have been forgiveable if the rice wasn't completely mushy. It was like congee wrapped in a grape leaf.

For mains, the menu included classics like adana kebab (grilled meatballs served on pieces of pide with tomato sauce and butter drizzled over top and yogurt on the side), manti (tiny meat dumplings served with yogurt and spiced butter drizzled over top), Ali Nazik (skewered and grilled lamb served over patlican ezmezi), and gozleme (Turkish crepe-ish pastries with feta and spinach).

I ordered the Ali Nazik, dinner companion 1 ordered the adana kebab, dinner companion 2 ordered gozleme, and dinner companion 3 ordered the sis tavuk (chicken shish kebab). Dinner companion 1 and I both found our dishes lacked flavour and were way too greasy. They both fell flat in the worst way. Dinner companions 2 and 3 seemed relatively happy with their choices. The gozleme looked pretty fresh, and the sis tavuk wasn't too dry.

For dessert, the advertised baklava was not available. The waitress listed a whole host of other desserts including seker pare (honey soaked biscuit), sutlac (rice/milk pudding), krem karamel, and Anglo strawberry and vanilla ice cream, cherry pie, apple pie, and banana cream pie. After listing those, the only Turkish dessert that was available was sutlac.

Dinner companions 1 & 2 ordered sutlac and Turkish coffee, and dinner companion 3 and I abstained from dessert and simply ordered some Turkish tea. The sutlac was at least relatively fresh, and was not sunken in and dry. The simple sweetness of the milk was evident and not overpowered by the added sugar. The coffee was on the weak side, as was the tea (served in English ceramic teacups and not in Turkish tea glasses).

Overall, the experience was not an exceptional one. The ambience definitely needs some work (I was expecting that Tuesdays would be fried liver and onion senior's discount nights), and the location is certainly not a favour to them. However, the inconsistent kitchen and shaky wait staff are even bigger problems that I hope they will be able to fix with more experience. It would be great see Anatolia's monopoly in Turkish food be challenged somewhat so chowhounds can experience better quality Turkish cuisine in this city.

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