233 Sydney Road
Coburg, VIC 3058
What’s better than a Turkish platter? If your answer was ‘nothing’, then you’d be absolutely correct! I don’t think there’s been a single time in my life where I have said no to a meal of salads, dips, and meat off the spit, and I hope I never will. And the best bit? With Coburg being such a hub for middle-eastern food, I can always head to Chris’ house after eating too much bread for a postprandial nap.
In this ‘hood, Melbourne Kebab Station is undoubtedly the OG and godfather rolled into one, but Antalya Turkish Restaurant is at the very least an underboss – and a well-respected one at that. The decor may be a little tired, but it has a cosy, well-worn sort of feel to it – the kind you get in a family restaurant passed down through generations of hardworking immigrants. Or at the very least that’s the story I like to make up in my head, being the second generation child of hardworking immigrant parents and all.
Although the main attraction is without a doubt the grilled meat platters, I couldn’t help but order a serve of the Patlican Dip ($5.5, small) to go with it. With every main ordered, you get a bowl piled sky-high with complimentary pieces of Turkish Bread, and these were beyond stunning with their burnished, sesame-studded casing, and fluffy, slightly chewy centre – perfect for dipping into the garlicky eggplant dip! Also fantastic was the Tabouli ($5.5, small), which was bright and crisp, folded through with a moist crumb of bulgar wheat.
The Mixed Grill ($22.5) came with all the trimmings, and was easily enough to feed 2 people (along with our sides). There was the obligatory doner kebab, consisting of lamb and chicken sliced paper-thin so it dissolved on the tongue, doused with tomato and yoghurt sauce.
Both skewers were fantastic; the chicken smoky and marinated in spices, and the lamb unbelievably juicy with a still-pink centre. Give the lamb cutlet a gnaw or two, then wash it down with the crisp salad, and fluffy pilaf flavoured with meat drippings.
In a suburb so saturated with Middle Eastern food, it can be quite hard for a restaurant to stand out. What sets Antalya apart is that is the combination of authentic, family-cooked food in a setting that is much, much nicer than the usual grab-and-run that’s fitted out in stainless steel. Oh and tripe soup; they have tripe soup on the menu.
Rating: 14/20 – tripe soup.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.