Sila Turkish Restaurant @ Dunedin

Just about a year ago, Kenny and I had our very first dinner date here. And we wanted to come here one more time before the year ends. We both love Turkish food!

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Sila is a great place for both lunch and dinner, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the food comes out quickly. There is a wide variety of dishes to suit everyone. You can get their signature wood fire oven baked Turkish bread, lahmajon pizza (wood fire lamb/beef mince pizza), meze meals, wrap/pita bread kababs, or Iskender meals. Most of these come with lots of exciting dips. Sila is also perfect for vegetarians. They have many offerings such as falafel, hummus, vegatarian dips, and fresh salads.

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We started with the lahmajon pizza as an entree, it is a wood fire pizza topped with lamb mince, tomato, parsley, onion and herbs. The bread is superb. Light and airy with a little bit of crunch. The topping was not too meaty which allowed the flavour of the tomato and the herbs to come through nicely.

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This is the mix meze main. It is a great dish to get if you aren’t familiar with the food and want to try a little bit of everything. It comes with sliced pieces of chicken and lamb, 6 various dips and hummus, dolma, sigara borek, falafel, tabouleh, grilled halloumi cheese, salad, Turkish bread and rice.

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The wood fire Turkish bread is a must order in Sila, it comes to the table straight from the oven, and is very airy, light, and chewy on the inside. My tip is to get an extra order to mop up all the extra hummus and other dips. It is both fun and addictive to rip off the pieces and use them as a vehicle for the dips.

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The mix meze comes with a whole six different dips. I personally love the beetroot dip made with beetroot and garlic yogurt, the babaganush made with charred eggplant, herbs and tahini (sesame paste), and the walnut dip with roasted capsicum, walnut, sundried tomato and spices. Kenny’s favourite was the hummus, it was creamy, tangy, and nutty. These all went so well with the freshly baked Turkish bread.

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This sigara borek is a filo pastry filled with feta, mozzarella, and herbs. This was a surprise to myself and Kenny and it was one of most enjoyable items I had on the night. It looked a little bit like a Chinese spring roll on the outside, and tasted like a mozzarella stick in the best way possible. It was delightfully crunchy on the outside from the layers of filo, but cheesy and cushiony on the inside. The pastry was beautifully baked in their wood oven, and the filling inside had well pronounced herb flavours.

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This is dolma, which is a grape leaf stuffed with a rice based mixture, and various vegetables and spices, and pickled. I found it okay, however, Kenny loved it. It tastes a little minty and a little briny from the pickling.

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This is Sila pirzola, which is chargrilled lamb cutlets served on a bed of rice with fresh salad, housemade hot tomato sauce, dips, and Turkish bread. The lamb cutlet was the best meat of the night. It was both well seasoned and cooked nicely over coals. This made the meat incredibly juicy and gave hints of that nice charred flavour.

The lamb cutlets were served with a sweet and a tad spicy housemade hot tomato sauce, which nicely balanced the smoky, charred umami of the lamb. Another highlight was the jacik dip, which consisted of thick yogurt, cucumber, garlic, and mint. It tasted incredibly fresh and tangy, and paired with the lamb wonderfully, cutting the richness. The rice underneath soaked up all the meaty juices from the lamb. I’d be happy to eat the rice just by itself.

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For dessert, we ordered Turkish baklava. It is a rich and sweet pastry made of layers and layers of filo, and filled with chopped walnuts and honey syrup. It was served cold, with vanilla ice cream on the side. To me, it was very reminiscent to a Danish pastry I used to have in Hong Kong. I expected it to be a bit crunchier, however, the baklava may not have been made on the day as it was a little soggy on the bottom. Kenny who loves anything sweet still loved it, and was more than happy to eat it all. 😉

If you plan to come here for dinner, I recommend ordering their specials/mix platters to share instead of individual dishes, so you can try all of their different offerings. Everything we’ve had is great, so you can’t really go wrong.

If you want a bit of entertainment, they have belly dancing on Saturday nights. We have yet to experience this, but will definitely come and see it next time.

Address: 17 St Andrew St, Dunedin, NZ

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