Earlier this year we reported about a new crazily affordable and enchanting eatery, Galata, situated on Grove Square in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Eat Out critic Hennie Fisher pays Galata a visit to try its Turkish wares.
Serves: Turkish breakfast, lunch and supper Monday to Sunday
Cost: Average price for a main course is R50
Best for: Great value for money bites
Star rating: Food 4, service 4, ambience 4
If you head to Galata for nothing else, do go for the Turkish breakfast. Each guest receives a plate of fabulous tomato-and-onion scrambled eggs (menemen), fresh baguette, a little pie with spinach-and-feta filling (gözleme), feta-style cheese, olives, a generous helping of tomato and cucumber slices, and individual bowls of two types of jam, thick cream, honey and Turkish tea – it is generous and excellent value for money at roughly R50.
The menu also offers Turkish toast of sucuk sausage and mozzarella cheese; Nutella toast with yoghurt and honey; omelettes; Turkish köfte; a Galata chicken plate; delightfully golden and alluring pide; a simit bun burger; tantuni made with either lavash or Turkish bread with tomato, onions, red peppers and beef; many lovely baked deli items such as simit, poğaça, börek, sütlaç; and other Western-style cakes such Galata tart, tiramisu, cheesecake, carrot cake, éclairs and apple pie.
Galata is alcohol-free, as you would expect in most Turkish establishments. You can, however, quench your thirst on lovely Turkish coffee, espresso, linden-flower tea (ihlamur), and other Turkish teas, which are brought to the table in a large flask to preserve their heat. Turkish sodas, milkshakes and strawberry or mango smoothies are some cold drinks on offer.
Siphosenkosi Dube, who serves us on the day we visit, provides a lively interface between the Turkish owners and ourselves. She is able to help out with various recommendations, and process our uninformed questions and requests with equanimity. This is an inexpensive little eatery frequented by many young adults and students brooding over their computers with numerous cups of espresso and cappuccinos by their side. The fact that it is affordable in no way affects the quality; it is an authentic eatery that offers good value for money.
The interior is simple and functional. On mostly white walls (apart from large window through which you can see the bright red walls of an access passage next to the restaurant) hang some pretty framed pictures of the Galata Tower in Istanbul, the Blue Mosque of Sultan Ahmet on the hill across the water, and other Turkish foodie scenes. A large service counter predominates one end of the inside area, but outside there are many umbrella-covered tables for good Joburg weather days.
This lovely little restaurant is in the very fashionable Braamfontein area, offering an escape where you can plug in your computer and do a couple of hours of hard work. It’s right behind the Lamunu Hotel, so tourists could also make good use of the respite that this spot offers.
Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.