Mercan is an authentic Turkish restaurant in Dubai Marina. Located at the base of the Jannah Place Hotel Apartment building on Nasaq Street, the restaurant boasts an indoor as well as a fully enclosed (and thankfully airconditioned) outdoor dining area. The outdoor area looks very much like an atrium and is tastefully decorated with surprisingly life-like runner vines dotted with white Jasmine flowers covering the pillars and some of the ceiling. It’s got the distinct look and feel of the Turquoise Coast, Turkey’s Mediterranean shoreline (well, close enough).
We were a big group there for Iftar. Within two minutes, Hulya, the beautiful Turkish flower in our group, had the all-Turkish staff wrapped around her little finger. It was no coincidence that I sat myself beside her. I knew all the good stuff would be served on her side of the table. Although she ordered à la carte, she streamlined the mains to Saç Tava, a delicious, stir-fried beef dish that was served, like shepherd’s pie, with the meat in the middle of a bed of mashed potatoes, and Adana Kebabs (ground lamb kebabs) – basically, what we Iranians would call Koobideh. My daughter, Yasmin, ever the finicky eater, ordered but hardly touched the Tavuk Şiş, a close cousin of Jujeh (chicken) Kabab. Pièce de resistance was a special Adana they served at the very end in Hulya’s honour. Mixed with a heavy hand of red chilli flakes and cheese, it was the very epitome of yum. Ask for chilli-cheese Adana.
The varied mezze we started with was equally delicious. My favourite, as always, was the spicy Ezme. I don’t know if it was Hulya’s girlish charm that brought the best out in the Turkish boys or if they’re always this friendly and efficient. Knowing the Turks, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. All in all, a very pleasant meal made all the more enjoyable by the amazing company. Mercan is an easy recommendation from my end.
Xerxes (pronounced Zûrk’seez) – Food Adventurer Extraordinaire & Aspiring (=Amateur) Food Blogger – Shamelessly Exploring the Boundaries of Gluttony
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 him on his culinary journey on Instagram: @ravenousxerxes or reach out to him via email on firstname.lastname@example.org.