Have you ever brought home a bottle of wine or some food from a holiday, raved to all of your friends about how great it is and then, in your own home find yourself staring at it, wondering if you picked up the wrong one! Part of this is down to the atmosphere and mood you were in at the time as well as the taste of the food. I have this with Turkish and Indian foods, nothing every tastes the same as when I tasted it listening to gentle waves lapping the beach. Until now, but here though I hit a quandary, do I tell you about what I have found?
I have found in food, a small piece of both countries. Both places hide themselves in their open fronts, with none of the usual fake decor to make your senses to think you are in these distant countries, yet the food!
I have tantalised you enough, for a long time I have walked passed The Mediterranean Bar & Restaurant on Magdalen street, each time thinking, one day. Well the day came to pass, and I will be going back as soon as I can. I recall eating Pide (a type of pizza) on market day in Fethiye, the taste was fresh herbs with a warm soft base. For the first time ever I have found Pide that matches this memory (although their fresh bread is just great! I could not stop eating it). The starter of stuffed vine leaves had a freshness from the mint that matched the homemade spicy sauce perfectly. My husband loved the sauce so much we had to order more to accompany his chicken kebab.
There is another reason to go back, not just the food, I am tantalised by the wine list. The range of Turkish wines looks very good and if the food triggers the great memories it has then, what will the wine do?
The second place I am going to suggest as worth a trip, I visited for my sisters birthday. On the high street in Gorleston, across from the library is the Bangla Nights. Again, from the outside it looks like any restaurant, clean and friendly. It was good to be given clean menus and a welcoming drink (I don’t know why clean menus are an issue). Even though the restaurant had a couple of large parties in the staff were there when ever needed. The menu had all the normal selections and a few I had not tried before. I expected the regular tastes, familiar and not totally fresh. I had been told to expect a good meal, I prepared to be disappointed. As I was with the Tamarind, in Blofield, at no point was that visit ‘fine dining’, expensive, but not fine and not worth the journey.
Bangla Nights did not disappoint! The food was spot on, good balances of spice and heat. The last time I have had an Indian that good was the Merchants of Spice on Colegate in Norwich.
Tipple wise, all I can say is there are going to be some great surprises at Norwich Beer Festival this October 22-27th. The orders are in.