Many will recommend you try the meat platter, comprising eight portions of meat, rice, chips, salad, cacik (a refreshing yogurt, cucumber and mint dip) and five rotis for four people, or roughly half that amount for two. The beauty is that you get to taste the best of the meat cuts, delicately spiced and grilled so the taste of the meat remains the true hero.
The kofta (five spicy lamb and beef meatballs) are really tasty and quite filling, as is the beef doner/shawarma (small or large), filled with shredded beef, rice, chip, salad and cacik. Also on the menu are spicy lamb cubes, chicken breast cubes and sirloin steak cubes served on a skewer with standard complementary sides.
For dessert, try the kataifi – a nest of pastry drenched in nuts and syrup – the perfect accompaniment to a cup of Turkish tea or coffee. And if you’re a fan of rice pudding, try their Turkish version called Sutlac – a creamy and comforting end to round off those spicy mains.
This is a dry restaurant with a limited selection of drinks, including lassi (a blend of yogurt and spices), soda, fizzy drinks and bottled water.
It's a little much having the entire wait staff stare at you in eager anticipation (it was Ramadan when we visited and the, usually lively, eatery was empty) so it’s best to just make conversation with them. They’re not confident about the ingredients of the dishes but will make an effort to find out when prompted.
Situated in the colourful district in Mayfair, in the western edge of Fordsburg, The Kebab House attracts a diverse group of patrons. It’s a very austere setting – with dark wooden furniture and minimal ornamentation on the walls, save for some generic art work.
Don’t leave without popping into the butchery next door for some choice cut meats, prepared while you wait.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
This is a meat eater’s refuge, and they cater for this by offering their mixed-grill platters in two sizes – for two or four people. The two-person mixed grill is enough for as many as three or four people, particularly if these people gorged themselves on those irresistible pides (bread) before the main course arrived. The mixed grill consists of lamb chops; beef cubes done kebab-style; flattened chicken thigh/drumstick (called a chicken chop); shawarma meat; kofte; small flatbreads with a meat topping; grilled tomatoes and onions and a basket of roti. The pides (resembling pizza dough with a filling that is cooked very quickly in a clay oven) come with a range of toppings, but do not miss the cheese pide, it is irresistible. Other pides include Sucuklu pide (with spicy Turkish sausage); a spinach pide and Lahmacun, with a unique mince mix with spices and vegetables added, on a thin base. Doner, which is beef cooked on the upright rotating grill, is served with a side salad, rice and roti, and can be ordered either as a small portion (R 50) or a larger option (R90). This also applies to the Sish kebab, the Beyti kebab and the Kofte. Four dessert options include Sutlach (rice pudding), Künefe, Kadaifi or Baklava.
This is a no-alcohol establishment, so be prepared to choose something soft instead. They sell a lot of salt lassis (Ayran), so these are kept ready in little screw-top bottles, but this would also be a great place to try real Turkish coffee or little glasses of Turkish tea. If none of this tickles your fancy, of course one could have any of the usual soft drinks or water.
The team of waitresses have their hands full at lunchtime when the restaurant, although small, is packed to the hilt with more people waiting for seats outside. Any questions are answered expertly and one surmises that the waiters may well need to interpret between the restaurant’s owners and clients who are not fluent in Turkish. Plates are brought to the table with cutlery neatly stashed in a purpose-made envelope of sorts, followed shortly by a plate fresh tomato chutney (Ezme) and yoghurt and cucumber (Cacik). Screens are on hand to provide privacy to diners whose religious observance does not allow them to eat in full view of others.
Slightly smarter than the average eating-house, the décor and appointments are nonetheless functional and no-fuss. Mayfair, while it would not appeal to just anyone, is a delightful little suburb that is home to a mix of people from all over the continent and the world, with a bit of Cape slang thrown in for variety. There are greengrocers selling interesting vegetables that one does not encounter every day because they are specific to particular cultures, such as a tiny pea in the pod or purple yams.
The sparkling bright and airy butchery next door, from where the restaurant’s meat is sourced, offers hand-cut meat and a few other prepared items, such as ready-made koftes.
This restaurant, run by a Turkish family, is a favourite for Middle Eastern food in Jozi. They serve unpretentious, fresh and healthy food made with love. Authentic Turkish food demands a perfect balance of subtle spices, which needs to tantalise the palate without overpowering the flavour of the actual ingredients – and Burhan’s does it just right. Also, they don’t skimp on the portion sizes. Sharing is a must, allowing you to taste more Turkish delights.
To start try, the pides, a Turkish-style pizza prepared in a clay oven, traditionally served without cheese. The thin and crispy flatbread comes adorned with a choice of toppings (including cheese if you really must). The authentic lahmacun topped with spiced mince and thin slivers of vegetables (no cheese here) is highly recommended.
Despite the antiquated name reminiscent of old steakhouses, the ‘mix grill’ is a very good choice for mains and will not disappoint. You’ll be treated to shish kebabs, marinated steak and lamb cubes, spicy kofte (meatballs) of beef and lamb, lamb chops and their famous chicken chops, served on a large platter. The latter consists of marinated chicken thighs that have been boned to resemble a chop. It may sound strange, but wait till you taste it – it’s a complete revelation. The mix grill is accompanied by an array of salads, from red cabbage slaw and a garden salad to a spicy tomato and onion salad. Served with spiced yogurt and gorgeous hot-out-of-the-clay-oven flatbreads, this offering is ample for 2-4 hungry people, but could feed more for sure. (All the items included therein can be ordered separately, but if you want the real Turkish deal, the platter is the way to go.) For dessert, the baklava is just to die for – but be sure to order it at the start of your meal, as it is may well be sold out by the time you’re done with your mains.
This is a Halaal restaurant, so no alcohol is served.
The staff are super efficient and well versed on the menu.
It's located on the main street of Mayfair, so diners should not expect the ornate opulence of the Ottoman Empire here. The restaurant is simple, clean and brightly lit, with the ceiling covered in a painting of the blue sky. What you can expect is a packed dining room filled with locals and Turkish travellers, which is testament to their authentic food. It’s the perfect spot for an early dinner before you hit the town.
Make sure you stop by at their butchery next door, where you can purchase some of the freshly prepared ingredients used in the restaurant. We always go home with a few packs of their chicken chops, perfect for the braai, and a pre-ordered portion of their baklava.