turkish DELIGHTS – #1: Iskender Kebap

Getting to know Turkey through it's food, drink and hospitality at Kilikya's in St Katharine Docks by Owen Rice

the Iskender Kebap (kebab) is one of Turkey’s most famous dishes and originates from Bursa in the northwestern Marmara region, just 50 miles south of Istanbul and close to the Sea of Marmara.

According to culinary folklore, “Chef Alexander” (Mehmetoğlu İskender Efendi) created the first ‘İskender Kebap’ in 1867. Selecting lamb raised on the thyme-covered slopes of Mount Uludağ, he roasted the meat as a self-basting doner kebab on a vertical grill and cut off thin slices as it cooked, spreading the meat on top of a bed of diced bread. The dish was then topped with savory tomato sauce and browned butter, and completed with a generous serving of yogurt on the side and a sprinkling of parsley.

Iskender Kebap Kebab Kilikyas turkish restaurant London docks
This delicate combination became a national treasure and an enormously popular export all over the world with each new generation of chefs, in each new place, creating their own special version.

Kilikya’s, situated at the impressive waterside of St Katharine Docks in EC1, have three versions on their menu; the classic lamb, a chicken and a mixed version. The mixed ‘kebap’ (sampled for the purpose of this article) was a show-stopping blend of floral chicken, deeply flavoured lamb and rich tomato and herb sauce, presented in a grand, authentic Turkish steel bowl.

“while away the hours chatting, eating and drinking tea or traditional Kahvesi coffee

Turkey Turkish Map Sea of Marmar Bursa Istanbul

It is little wonder that Turkish people in London flock there to while away the hours chatting, eating and drinking tea or traditional Kahvesi coffee, looking out over the yachts moored in this exclusive east of the city hideaway. Just for a moment, between mouthfuls of kebab, I was transported to a faraway exotic place and time, lulled by the easy, relaxed atmosphere of Kilikyas.

The Iskender Kebap is certainly big enough to share, but I suggest that just this once you make sure you have one entirely to yourself!

KILIKYA’S RESTAURANT
St Katharine Docks
London EC1
t: 020 7488 0813
w: www.kilikyas.com

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