The köfte they serve at this branch of Sultan Baba Iskender in Dubai Festival City is, without a doubt, the best I have had outside Turkey. But for me, that’s where the fairy tale ends because the rest of my order was disappointingly substandard. Based as a standalone restaurant in the main mall food court, it is the second of two Sultan Baba Iskender branches in Dubai, the other one is in Umm Suqeim.
Rather than wasting time with traditional starters (many of which on the menu are Arabic and not Turkish anyway) I ordered Manti, bite-sized dumplings served with a yogurt sauce. Salivating with anticipation, my companion and I gobbled up every last piece but not because they were any good – they weren’t. We were just really hungry plus, once you start with these little suckers, even if they’re not as good as you expected, they still hard to stop eating.
Our surprisingly expensive Iskender Kebab was equally disappointing. What spoilt it for me was the tomato puree they pasted on top before serving. It was raw, as if straight out of a jar. I pointed this out to the supervisor. What some restaurants do in Turkey is ‘wash’ the toppings with bubbling butter just before serving and yes, this does make the dish a little oily but who cares when it tastes good (it’s not as if doner kebabs are the healthiest of foods anyway).
Although our servers were not Turkish, they were very friendly and accommodating. Zomato has this restaurant rated at a whopping 4.7. Based on my experience there, it’s nowhere close. If I could, I would rate it somewhere in the region of a 3.5 out of 5.0. I will probably end up giving it a 4.0 on the strength of their amazing köfte and the very good service. It is definitely a restaurant worth visiting if you are in the mood for good Turkish food.
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Xerxes physically dines at, or orders from, each and every venue he reviews. He pays in full for whatever he and his companions eat, drink, take away or occasionally throw at each other. Xerxes accepts no money, gifts, discounts or free meals in return for reviews or favouritism. What you have read was NOT influenced in any way by the venue. Join me on Instagram @ravenousxerxes or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.