278 Grey Street, Hamilton
I’ve said it before, but goodness, how things have changed in Hamilton East in the last 10 years. There is now a multitude of dining options from Indian, to Thai, to actual cafes, as well as some contemporary European establishments.
Friends of ours have just moved to Hamilton, and were keen to take us to one of their Turkish dining discoveries when we recently visited – Babaganush.
The décor is vibrant, with colourful walls and wooden floors. The menu is very substantial, featuring traditional Turkish cusine of Meze and Platters, Kebabs (Doner, Iskender and Stuffed Pide), Tagine, Moussaka, Ispank Borek and Kofte, as well as Gourmet Pizza, and a variety of salads (prawn and avocado, calamari, roast lamb and falafel).
We began our Turkish evening with the Coban Meze Platter, homemade bread with a selection of four dips; Cacik (yoghurt, cucumber, mint and garlic), Hummus, Red Pepper and Sundried Tomato, and Babaganush (eggplant and tahini).
In keeping with the Turkish theme, we sipped Efes (a Turkish Pilsner beer) with our meals.
Our hosts enjoyed traditional Tagine meals. Tagine refers to the pot that this meat dish is cooked in. She chose the Chicken and Date Tagine, while her husband demolished the Beef and Pear version of this dish.
My husband’s Beef Moussaka was filled with tasty layers of kumara and potato, filled with beef bolognaise and white sauce. He even picked at his salad and accompanied dips.
Wanting something a bit lighter, I selected the Haloumi and Roasted Beetroot Salad ($19). I was impressed! The salad was very generous, with huge slabs of Haloumi, loads of sweet beetroot, salad greens and a sprinkling of walnuts, covered in a balsamic glaze. A refreshing change from the often dreary token vegetarian dishes seen on many restaurant menus.
In a nutshell: An affordable Middle Eastern taste sensation. The only thing missing was Belly Dancers.