Köz Seki Cağ Kebabı is, as its name suggests, a Cağ Kebab specialist restaurant. Based in the Küçükçekmece neighbourhood of Istanbul, it was no more than a five-minute walk from the Elite World Business Hotel we were staying in. The restaurant is spread over two floors; the ground floor where an open kitchen is based and the first floor where our hungry party of six were guided to be seated.
Now, for those of you who are wondering what Cağ Kebab is, it is a kebab which starts off like a doner, but on a slowly turning vertical (not horizontal) spit against a wood fire. Slices of meat are cut off the spit (similar to with doner) and skewered before being grilled on a bed of charcoal – the end product really is quite delicious. Of course, we all ordered Cağ Kebab.
Until it was served, we were treated to the worst starters I have had in any restaurant in Istanbul. Their version of my favourite Spicy Antep Ezmesi was particularly unpleasant. The chopped Çoban Salatası or Choban Salad was not much better. And besides some sliced onions, that’s all they had to offer us to start with – unbelievable. But then they brought out the Cağ Kebab and all the nagging and criticism died down and was replaced with exaggerated (and embarrassing) oohing and aahing. Although each portion is served with two skewers, we all ordered a second round – that’s how good these kebabs are.
Service, although friendly and hospitable, was one humiliating apology after another. We couldn’t help feeling sorry for the frustrated waiters. That said, they made up for the restaurant’s shortcomings with their good humour – all this while no one there spoke a word of English.
The important question is, will I go back? You know, although their Cağ Kebab was super delicious, I don’t think I would. I think it’s unacceptable for a restaurant in this day and age to have so many shortcomings (and I haven’t even gone into how disappointing their desserts were). Istanbul is a treasure chest of amazing eateries; I will find another which serves Cağ Kebab and go there.
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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 email@example.com.