When quality trumps quality - My experience at a local Turkish restaurant in Istambul
It is my first ever visit to Istambul, Turkey and on my first night, I decide to join a couple of local colleagues from work for dinner.
Given that they are accustomed to the rather selctive food habits of my fellow countrymen, my Turksih colleagues decide that it's better to be safe that sorry.
"Do you eat non-vegetarian food" they ask me..
"Oh yes, I do" I replied without hesitation.!
"Do you eat only chicken?" (they are more used to non-vegetarian Indians who eat only chicken and eggs apart from the plant stuff)
"I eat practically everything I can lay my hands on" I assured them..
Their fears about any finicky food habits I had, set aside, the guys walk me to a street nearby, and stop in front of a rather nice looking place and one of them asks: "Do you like doner?"
While I liked doner kababs, it had been years since I munched on some.
"Oh yeah! I love doner - used to have it from the food trucks run by some Turkish people during my university days" I blurted excitedly.
And that's how we wound up in Bayramoglu - a hugely popular restaurant in the locality, going by the crowd there.
My colleagues didn't ask for a menu and decide to order for me too.. But hey, what does it matter, the food's supposed to be good!
The waiter served some great salads and some potato wedges ( both complementary) before serving our main meal of doner meat and the local flat bread (unlimited)
Once we were done with dinner, we were also served some great Turkish tea, which was complementary too.. !
The food was exemplary and I looked around to see a few tables and realised the doner was a popular choice among diners there.
I left the joint with the others a the end of what could be actually termed a 'happy meal'.
A day later, I was back at the same place for dinner and decide to try their menu for something else.
"Excuse me can I have a menu please" I asked as soon as I sat at a table.
"Menu? No Menu... Half Doner... Full Doner"
When the waiter told me they didn't have a menu, I was quite taken aback. How could one know what else to try without a menu? Half Doner and Full Doner?
A bit of broken English and body language conveyed the waiter's message - diners had only one choice in that restaurant - doner (half or full plate)!
Realising I had no choice but to repeat the previous night's dinner, I replied 'half Doner' and started digging into the salads that were already at my table.. My dinner arrived in a couple of minutes.
As I munched on my plate of doner and naan flat bread looking at the crowds around me waiting to find a table, I realised that you really don't need a great fancy menu card to have a successful restaurant.
You could just have one item and succeed - as long as that one item was world class!
Turns out one of the best examples of quality trumping over quantity, I came across, was from that doner restaurant in a little corner of Istambul..
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