I pass Burgos Street everyday, since I live nearby. On rare occasions, I've found myself eating with friends in one of those little specialty restaurants located in the inside streets of the area. Lately though, I just know it to be the last hurdle of traffic before I reach home. Besides, it is not really advisable to be lurking in the area, it being infamous as a red light district. However, one late afternoon on a Friday, the call of a food find in the form of Argos Minibar beckoned me to actually linger.
Right smack among the bars is a Turkish find
I was to meet a couple of friends for early dinner. Both of them are adventurous in general, and one of them is on a short holiday from Singapore, so a hole-in-the-wall resto with happy hour (from 2pm to 8pm) is the perfect rendezvous place.
We collectively admired the interiors of the place -- the carefully thought-of little details like the table design, the map wall and the tile art by the kitchen. These things add much to an authentic Mediterranean feel without trying too hard.
Look for Argos!
Turkish art right by the kitchen
We order the Hummus (P125) to start off. It was so delicious and thankfully the serving was also so generous that we had to order more Pita Bread (P25).
Hummus and Pita
We all had long nights ahead of us, so we ordered Kebabs for our main course. The Shish Kebab is a best seller, so we decided to taste both the Chicken (P270) and the Lamb (P320). According to the menu, this kind of kebab was invented by medieval Persian soldiers who used their swords to grill meat over open-field fires. At least something good came out of the previous wars -- now that shish kebab has been discovered, let us enjoy in peace every bit of Turkish delight from these plates.
Chicken Shish Kebab
Lamb Shish Kebab
For variety, we also had the Iskender Kebab (P360). This Kebab is named after Alexander the Great. The dish is a combination of tender beef and lamb basted with hot tomato sauce, served on bread and slathered with sheep butter and yoghurt. The chef also lathered it with the remaining oil direct from the pan where the meat was cooked. That added to the sumptuous factor, but health freaks may shudder at the sight of the amount of oil in one plate. While definitely different and interesting, I still prefer the Shish Kebab and the lamb in particular.
Pouring the oil
To add some vegetables in our line-up, the Sarma Dolma (P150) was also present on our table. This one is a savory dish of minced meat and rice rolled in cabbage leaves and topped with yoghurt. I loved this one. I don't like yoghurt most of the time, but I must say the chef is successful in making sure the yoghurt flavor does not overpower the other items on the dish. If the kebabs were not on our table yet, I would have definitely asked for one more serving of Sarma Dolma.
There is a need for dessert to balance off the current taste of the palate after everything was devoured. Actually, we were just finding an excuse. So as not to commit gluttony, we just shared a slice of Cukulatali Kek (P120), the Turkish version of chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate sauce. I like my cakes sweet, but the sweetness is not so apparent in this dessert. I would assume it is healthier that way, so I will let that slide.
Trying out new restaurants is something I like to do with friends, but introducing my taste buds to a different cuisine is strange by my standards. I acknowledge that I can be peculiar in my criteria, it's something that I do not normally do. However, after visiting this hole-in-the-wall Turkish delight, I might just adapt to adventurous eating.