Tuesday 22 February 2011

The Alphabet Dinners: A is for Arda

Two lady novelists are responsible for this new twist in my blogging.

The first is Narrelle Harris, my other half and author of the fabulous vampire novel The Opposite of Life (ask for it at all good bookshops). Because Narrelle takes herself off each Tuesday night to a writing lair elsewhere in the city, I'm at a loose end after spending all day working at home.

The other is Agatha Christie. The earliest work of hers I read was The ABC Murders, a chilling account of a serial killer who selected his victims purely by the alphabetical order of their names.

I liked this arbitrary device. So I've decided that, on Tuesday evenings when I'm in Melbourne, I'll select a restaurant from The Age Cheap Eats guide, eat there and blog about it. And I'll select each eatery - follow me closely here - in alphabetical order.

So... this week A is for Arda, a Turkish restaurant in Caulfield, reached by a train to Elsternwick then a number 67 tram. While I was waiting for the delayed 67, a strange apparition appeared - an old wooden W-Class Tram, marked as a number 78 and clearly very lost. I dared not step aboard, lest it prove the Flying Dutchman of trams, doomed forever to trundle through the city's southeast backwaters.

The restaurant was your standard suburban ethnic eatery, with fairly plain tables in a narrow shopfront, but also with a lengthy menu of kebab and 'Turkish pizza' variants.

First up, a side of tabouli (above). The parsley was cut a bit coarser than usual, but I liked it like that - gave it a hint of homemade authenticity. A little too salty, but lots of crunchy texture.

Then the main, iskender kebab. I'd had this before at our local Turkish when we lived in Richmond years ago. It consists of strips of lamb, sliced from the rotisserie I assume, layered with yoghurt and a piquant tomato sauce, all on top of chunks of soft Turkish bread. Very tasty.

A dash of this chilli sauce added just a bit more bite, and contrasted nicely with the soothing yoghurt.

And for dessert, Turkish delight and Turkish coffee. Breaking my (poorly enforced) moratorium on caffeine after midday, but what the hell.

The Bill: $30.50
The Restaurant: Arda, 619 Glenhuntly Rd, Caulfield; ph 03 9530 0193.

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