Sultan Baba Iskendar – Dubai Festival City – Turkish restaurant

Never been to turkey but heard their food was fantastic. Today thanks to Sultan Baba Iskendar restaurant I managed to taste the real food of turkey. It started with starters, main course and desserts. Starters were good, main course got better and the desserts took away the prize. In other words it just got better as we proceeded through each stage. We were there for dinner say at around 08:15pm and got off the restaurant at around 10:15pm which is 2 hours of dinner! I guess I was really enjoying the restaurant.

Everything in this restaurant was from Turkey including the tables, chairs, cups, utensils, employees, pictures, artwork etc. The restaurant owner spend most of the time telling us the story behind their food and how it all related to traditions of turkey and they never took any shortcuts to cooking but ensured they were cooked as they would cook in turkey which includes technique and materials.


There were many pictures taken from this restaurant so I thought maybe I should comment in between them so you can easily connect with the scene. So please scroll down further to read more…

Ayran(laban) – Dhs 6

Well this would be simple to most of you. It’s yoghurt with a pinch of salt. If I understand right this is supposed to be the national drink of Turkey. It tasted very pure, a genuine laban. Below is lemonade with a little bit of mint in it, a refreshing drink.  These drinks were part of our starters. One of the starters i missed to shoot was the one which you can see hiding behind the laban. Similar to that one was one more called Ezme– Dhs 15 – Roasted bell pepper crushed with tomatoes, walnuts, onions and spices which you will see below. Being an Indian, Ezme was too little a starter but it had that little spice which I would enjoy.

Limonata – lemonade(Dhs 6)
Salad – I can’t remember the pricing on this one
Ezme – Dhs 15 – starter – Roasted bell pepper crushed with tomatoes, walnuts, onions and spices
Lahmacun – Turkish Pizza – Dhs 15(small), Dhs 30(Medium), Dhs 45(Large)
Lahmacun – Turkish Pizza – Homemade Pita bread baked in the oven topped with fresh tomato,    minced lamb, red pepper, onion, parsley, garlic and turkish herbs.  It was light and easy to finish. The bread was also very thin so you didn’t feel like you were eating too much of bread.
Kasark Pride – Dhs 34(Medium) – Baked Turkish Pita bread topped with cheddar cheese. I actually noticed there was a little bit of meat as well in this one. The borders of this pita contained meat. My son enjoyed this one the most.
Bread on the house
Kasark Pide – Dhs 34(Medium) – Baked Turkish Pita bread topped with cheddar cheese
Mixed Grill along with Burgul(rice)- which is currently not in their menu.

There are 4 types of kebab in this one.

  1. Lamb shish kebab – charboiled lamb cubes cooked on skewer and marinated with turkish spices.
  2. Pathcanh kebab – Seasoned ground lamb with egg plant
  3. Adana kebab – Seasoned spicy ground lamb, char – boiled on skewer.
  4. Chicken Sheesh kebab – Marinated cubes of chicken breast.

All kebabs rocked as expected but the chicken cubes could have been softer. They got everything right for the lamb.

Center-Pathcanh Kebap – Dhs 49(Medium), On the right – Adana Kebab – Dhs 55(Medium)
Center-Pathcanh Kebap – Dhs 49(Medium), On the right – Adana Kebab – Dhs 55(Medium)
Pideli Kofta – Dhs 45(Small),  Dhs 65(Medium),  Dhs 75(Large)
Pideli Kofta – Meatballs served on grilled pita bread, topped with hot butter sauce with yoghurt on the side. Meatballs were fun to eat. You bite and it easily melts in your mouth.
Iskendar Kebab – Dhs 49 (small), Dhs 69(Medium), Dhs 89(Large)

Iskendar Kebab – Thin lamb and beef doner slices served on grilled pita bread topped with tomato and hot butter sauce with yoghurt on the side.

This is their best seller. They will put forward this for any competition. The description says thin lamb and it really is cut thin so thin that you don’t have to worry about chewing it. These doner kebabs are made in the tradition way and the owner told us how earlier it was tried horizontal before they discovered that vertical inclination while cooking gave the meat more taste. They cook using charcoal just like their tradition. Below you can see the picture of how the doner kebab is made. Everyone on the table enjoyed the doner kebab. The pita that lies underneath the Iskendar kebab is soaked with its flavor that makes it juicy.

Pita bread found underneath Iskendar Kabab
Burgul – Rice in focus
Standard on every table – Sauce, Vinegar and Olive oil.
Special Copper vessels from Turkey used to melt butter
Charcoal fired doner machine
Restaurant owner – Mr. Volkan
The food court view at Dubai Festival City
Lamb meat getting cooked on charcoal
The old time characters that were played on stage.
Paintings on a silk
Kunefe – Dhs 25 – Tissue thin layers of pastry shredded and baked with unsalted cheese. Served warm with a light syrup
Kunefe – Dhs 25 – Tissue thin layers of pastry shredded and baked with unsalted cheese. Served warm with a light syrup
Desserts was the best of all. I can’t forget that taste of baklawa as well as the kunefe. A genuine tasting arabic dessert. I started with the baklawas first. The one on the left was sweeter than the one on the right. The right baklawa looked like as if it was wrapped with a velvet cloth and when you cut it was much softer than golden baklawa on the right. Both tasted original and true to quality. Kunefe was light and I highly recommend everyone to try these 2 arabic sweets for sure.
Baklava – Dhs 20 for 3 pieces(multi layered flake pastry with pistachio or walnut)
All tea and coffee arrive in this VIP tray
Turkish Coffee – Dhs 9
I loved the way the brought the turkish coffee and tea. The turkish coffee was thick, strong and anyone who enjoy the shot espresso would definitely want to try this turkish coffee. The tea was easier for me to have as I am a regular tea man. My throat and stomach felt great after their tea. For the quality offered their pricing is quite descent. You can also buy their original turkish tea or coffee powder if you wanted to enjoy it at home. But I remember the restaurant manager telling me that their tea was made from steam of hot water so I am not sure how you can reproduce that.
Turkish Tea – Dhs 5
Turkish tea and coffee powder
The old multi-colored houses found in Bursha, Turkey. They exist even today in Turkey.
Restaurant Manager – Mr. Bachir Ghandour

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