Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sofra Edmonton, AB - Tasty Turkish dinner with plenty of flavorful grilled skewers, a Sultan's feast and more!

Here’s our second post on Sofra – see, I said I’d eventually find time to get it typed up :D We rounded up a group of friends hungry for an authentic taste of Turkey and Mediterranean foods – hummus, citrus flavors, grilled skewers, baklava, Turkish beer, Turkish coffee.. well, I’m getting ahead of myself.. on to the food!!
We found ourselves back in the odd burnt orange dining rooms divided by multiple flights of small stairs with the neat earthen? Trojan Horse planted front and center as you step inside. We had a large table, so some of us ordered Turkish beers (sorry, forgot to take pictures), and the rest of us proceeded to order... ridiculous amounts of food lol!

Most of us went with sharing or adding a few appetizers to the Sultan’s Feast – hummus and pita, stuffed grape leaves, a platter of grilled meats: lamb, chicken, swordfish, meatballs, bulgar, salad, and baklava to finish. We could see Chef Yuksel Gultekin through the little open kitchen area in the back with little eddies of flour flying through the air as he prepped some of his fantastic freshly baked pita.

The APPYS
First out was the Hummus – a creamy smooth super garlicky chickpea dip with freshly baked pita, with Chef Gultekin’s incredibly tasty fresh out of the oven pita’s lightly brushed with oil/butter and sprinkled with toasted sesame. The Hummus platter comes with the Sultan's feast set meal.

We totally and shamelessly filled up on hummus and pita, even though we knew we should have saved room for all the other food!

Next out was the Yaprak Sarma - grape leaves stuffed with rice and raisins (also part of the Sultan's feast). Simple and delicious, it was served with a littel dallop of garlicky hummus to dunk if you wish.

The grape leaves added in a nice tanginess that contrasted nicely with the slight sweetness from the raisins. 

Piedler is also known as Turkish pizza and this vegetable piedler is made with the same dough base as the pita and has a super thin, light and crispy crust

… and loaded up with lots of cheese, with the veges nicely caramelized in the oven. Mmm!

the ENTREES
One of our foodie friends ordered the grilled rack of lamb entrée - Kuzu Pirzola. Heavily marinated in herbs and spices, and grilled to your liking, you can barely taste any gaminess from the lamb.

In fact, it masked the lamb flavor so well, you could have easily mistaken the meat for young beef! The entrée was served with tomato and herb seasoned bulgar and organic greens with housemade raspberry vinaigrette, and delicious grilled veges - sweet bell peppers, zuchinni, tomatoes.

the SULTAN’s FEAST
And the rest of us… had the Sultans Feast lol! Here we go! The grilled platter of meats came out next with Yavuk Sis Kebab - chicken skewers, Kilic Baligi kebab - fresh swordfish skewer with citrus marinade, Izgara Kofte - traditional grilled meatballs and Kuzu Pirzola – grilled lamb chops.

Kuzu Pirzola – grilled lamb chops – were the same ones (though smaller portion size - 3-4 rib “bones” per Sultan’s Feast rather than a whole rack) in the entrée.

The Yavuk Sis Kebab - chicken skewers (in the center) was a quick favorite around the table as the meat is grilled to a moist, succulent amazing and bursting with flavor from its top secret marinade.

The Kilic Baligi kebab - fresh swordfish skewer (on right side of plate) with citrus marinade was grilled to perfection with lovely notes of citrus. It was a close contender with the Izgara Kofte - traditional grilled meatballs. Some of us loved them, and some found the meatball mixture mixed unevenly so some meatballs were super flavorful, and other meatballs was just grilled ground beef. A few more minutes mixing up the beef mixture prior to forming and tossing on the grill would fix that issue.

All entrees and the Sultan’s Feast had a nicely tomatoey seasoned bulgar (think cross between quinoa and rice) and a small organic salad lightly tossed with housemade raspberry vinaigrette as well as some toothsome grilled vegetables.

the DESSERT
We finished off our meal with large pieces of baklava made with walnuts, pistaccios and honey syrup. The top layer was nice and crisp and loaded with nuts, flakey pastry and a light honey flavored syrup. However, the mid to bottom part was soggy – a bit longer cooling time before pouring in the honey syrup, or increasing amount of honey and decreasing amount of simple syrup may help. The baklava has a ways to go before its as excellently executed as the ones made by Paradiso Bakery (our go to place in the city for the best baklava!).

We digested and washed down the baklava with some aromatic Turkish coffee (remember – do NOT stir or drink the coffee grounds in the bottom of the cup!) ...

and a tasty cup of lightly sweetened and aromatic hot apple tea (forgot to ask if they made a cold version) that brought back memories of traipsing through markets in Turkey and horrifying/surprising a high end silk carpet merchant when I was more interested in buying the iced apple tea they happened to have on hand for folks to cool down... rather than their (very nice) handmade silk carpets from their factory ... the apple tea was really really tasty and I wanted to take some home! (Yeah, you can see where my priorities are LOL!).

the VERDICT
Again, an excellent Mediterranean meal from the hands of Chef Gultekin and his team where the food and not the plating is the focus… and where we practically rolled out the door with memories of Turkey on our lips.

Sofra
Address 108 - 10345 106 St NW Edmonton, AB
Phone 780-423-3044
Hours Open for dinner only Tues - Sunday 5pm-close. Closed Mondays
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