“ Address: 37 Corn Market / DE1 2DG / Derby / Tel: 01332 38 00 82 „
The Istanbul Restaurant
A Step back in time:
This is a very strange little restaurant to find as it is in the back end of the market in Derby near the fish section, up some fairly grotty stairs and it certainly wouldn't be the sort of place that would get passing custom just from seeing the place. Once you get into the restaurant the decor in the room is the Turkish equivalent of the 1970's Chinese restaurants that did the cheap lunch deals. The chairs are very basic wooden and the tables also nothing special. On the walls are pictures of various Turkish places and a few artefacts but all rather faded and tired looking. The floor is a wooden one with a non descript sort of covering. All in all it really isn't going to attract customers wanting a elegant meal out.
Why do you go there then?
I have been to this restaurant a dozen or so times and the menu never changes but then when we were in Istanbul it didn't seem to matter which restaurant we went to the menu was pretty much the same so I guess that is not so unusual.
I volunteer for Homestart, a charity that supports parents with pre-school age children and as a 'thank you' for our work the charity pays for us to have a meal out twice a year, once at Christmas and then again in the summer which is a very nice gesture which we all appreciate. They offer two options , one evening do at the Standing Order and the lunch do which is at The Istanbul. I always choose 'The Istanbul' as I do prefer a lunch do and also I like the food at 'The Istanbul'.
When you arrive you are welcomed by the owner or manager with a smile and shown to your table. The meals with the homestart group are always quite big and so the two staff members are a bit frantic. There appears to be only the one chef and the other member of staff is front of house, he serves the food and is behind the bar doing the drinks. Fortunately as most of us are driving he doesn't have to do too many drinks as he runs around serving the food.
I believe the last time I saw the prices for the meal it was about £8 for three courses at lunch time which is an amazing price as the food is actually very good. If you go in the evening then the same meal will cost you £12.95 which is not a bad price for what you get. They always bring a jug of iced water to the table without you asking and when you go in a smaller group then the drinks order is taken at the table and brought to you. With our group of 20+ it does get a little more complicated as Homestart do not pay for drinks so we have to order and pay for them at the bar separately.
The starters offered include Turkish favourites such as a great mixed meze plate which I usually opt for which includes hummus, pitta, dolmades and salad, plus aubergine dip and I can't remember what else but it is a pretty good small plateful. In the centre of the tables they also put a bowl of pickled chillies and olives.
Other starters on offer include a soup of the day - obviously this varies as to what it is and I never order soup in a restaurant.
AKDENIZ SALATASI which is basically a salad of tomatoes,mozzarella,parsley,dill.olive oil dressing - this is also very good and I have had that a couple of times.
CIGER TAVA;Lamb liver fried with onion,pepper and garlic - not one I would ever choose so not sure about this one.
TAVUK KANADI;Pan fried chicken vings served with B.B.Q sauce - again something I would never choose.
KARNIBAHAR SOTE, Fried cauliflower,tomatoes,onion,pepper,egg - has eggs so this one is out for me too.
BOREK;Filo pastry filled with feta cheese,potato,egg and parsley - eggs so not for me.
KARIDES KOKTEYL;Prawns served on lettuce topped with seafood sauce - prawn cocktail and why would you order this in a Turkish restaurant?
All these come with a salad garnish and home baked bread whicj is absolutely delicious, warm and so tasty.
Once again they offer about seven o eight choices most of which are Turkish but they include a vegetable lasagne, steak and trout as options not so authentically Turkish. My favourite is the TAVUK SIS which is diced breast of chicken,mushroom cooked on skewer and really tasty it is too. It comes with salad or vegetables then they put huge bowls of rice and potatoes on the table too. The rice looks pretty tasty but I usually have enough with the three courses and don't bother with the carbohydrate fillers. I save my calorie intake for the puddings!
Other Turkish options include KARISIK KEBAB which is a lamb and chicken kebab served on a skewer, IZMIR KOFTE which is a lamb meatballs in tomato sauce, and another veggie choice which is BIBER DOLMA which is s stuffed green pepper.
I have tried the Karisik Kebab but am not keen on lamb so have moved to the chicken one instead, the stuffed pepper is also very tasty and the lasagna a really nice looking huge portion when I've sat next to someone who has ordered this. The steak is a bit iffy and I would not choose this as it really is not a Turkish speciality and I do try and order food relevant to the restaurant expertise.
The desserts are not that Turkish it has to be said as Chocolate Fudge cake, ice cream and cheese cake are on the list but I always order a mixed sweet plate and you get a bit of each and a piece of baklava which I have a bit of a weakness for.
Would I recommend?
Yes the food is good. You have to imagine you are in a back street in Istambul rather than Derby and then the ambience and décor seem more in keeping. You can see the chef cooking which is always a good sign as then things can't be hidden.
The toilets are pretty similar in standard in that they look scruffy. The windows need a good clean but the toilet itself is clean and there is paper and the basin outside has anti bacterila soap too. It is not luxurious by any means but it does the job.
The stairs up are old and dingy and as far as I am aware there is no disabled access . the toilet would be a challenge too for someone in a wheel chair, it is tricky enough with an inward opening door being able bodied so impossible with any disability.
So in short this is not the sort of place where you would bring your latest beau for a date but as good Turkish fare in basic surroundings it does the job. It is good food, well cooked for a very decent price.
i found this tricky to allocate stars to and chose 3 but this is because of the restaurant and not the food which is good.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted ion other sites under my same user name.