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The Turks are known for their delightful desserts, and the most iconic sweet ending is arguably baklava. @mavirestaurant.sg baklava ($12.90++) follows the straightforward recipe: multiple layers of phyllo pastry sandwiching coarsely chopped pistachios and sweetened with a good deal of syrup.⠀

While I thoroughly enjoyed the flakiness of the phyllo pastry, and the abundance of chopped pistachios within, these baklava bits were barely large enough to qualify as one-biters. At $12.90 before taxes for a quartet of these puny pieces, I probably wouldn’t get this again.⠀

However, I would get the Fistikli Kadayif again. At a dollar ninety cents cheaper per serving ($11++), this dessert is far more satisfying in size. The little crispy threads are called Kadayif, which is shredded filo dough. It’s baked until the lattice turns crazy crispy, and then topped with a charitable amount of chopped pistachios & showered with the same syrup. It’s basically a baklava, but less flaky and much crisper. Definitely the superior dessert if you ask me, and is best savoured with a glass of hot, strong Turkish tea to rinse all that sugar down.⠀

And for the final time, thank you for the invite, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

1 Like

Shish kebab is definitely the most popular kind of kebab, and @mavirestaurant.sg certainly prides themselves on that. Their chicken shish kebab ($21++) has marinated lean chicken cubes grilled over the same charcoal grill that produced the Adana kebab, and served with butter rice, some veg and a slice of flatbread.

While the chicken has a superb smokiness to it, I found it a bit under-seasoned. It certainly wasn’t as sumptuous as the lamb, even though the hints of herbs & spices were definitely there. However, the most glaring lapse here is that the chicken is terribly tough & dry. Even though the menu states that the shish kebabs are slowly chargrilled on skewers, it definitely felt like the chicken got put on blast. The dryness is compounded by the fact that a lean cut like breast was used for grilling, which amplified the dry chicken problem.

As such, I found myself having to resort to using the hummus or the excellent tomato sauce from the Güveç to lube this dismally dry meat. The butter rice was nice and superbly seasoned, but didn’t provide enough moisture to ameliorate the dry chicken. Skip the chicken and go straight for the lamb, fellas.

Thank you for inviting us, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

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When someone mentions Turkish cuisine, the first thing that springs to mind for most are kebabs. Juicy, well seasoned meat sliced from an enormous hunk of meat slowly rotating on a kebab grill. However, the more traditional version is meat wrapped around a skewer and grilled over charcoal, and that’s what @mavirestaurant.sg has to offer.⠀

The lamb Adana Kebab ($26++) is minced lamb marinated with assorted herbs & spices and grilled over a charcoal grill, and served with rice, a slice of flatbread, and some veggies. The minced lamb retains its moisture even after grilling, and each juicy bite of tender minced lamb offers little resistance to your jaw. The inherent gaminess of lamb is obscured by the herb & spice mix, which flavours the lamb spectacularly. And of course, the charcoal grill has imbued the kebab with its smoky goodness, heightening the already ambrosial aroma of the meat.⠀

The bulgur pilaf was incredible, and outperformed the already decent butter rice by a significant margin. Each grain of bulgur was like a supersized couscous, and had an addictive bite to it. The bulgur was cooked in a tomato sauce, and had a tastefully tangy edge to its savouriness. The veggies on the side were sadly neglected though, as they were completely undressed and looked as if they had seen better days. Still, the lamb kebab & bulgur pilaf were more than enough to make this dish a smash hit.⠀

Thanks for hosting us, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

2 Likes

I haven’t had a pide since my university days of getting shitfaced at three am, and pides aren’t as common in Singapore as they were in Australia. @mavirestaurant.sg savoury Sucuk & Egg ($23++) takes me back to those delightful drunken nights, and had me hankering for a cold pint of Cooper’s Sparkling Ale. Alas, Mavi is a hundred percent halal, so there’s no booze to be found.⠀

Even without the booze, this sucuk & egg pide was plenty palatable. The pide dough is formed with a hollow center for any number of fillings to be packed into, and that’s what makes ‘em so alluring. The dough itself is moderately chewy, a little bready but still moderately dense. Of course, if the pide had no fillings, nobody would bother with it. That’s where the sucuk & egg come in. ⠀

As the more astute of you may have already guessed, sucuk is sausage. Or more precisely, sucuk is a dry, spicy & fermented sausage enjoyed in the Middle East & the Balkans. Slices of it are arrayed atop the egg that’s been poured into the cavity like pepperoni on a pizza. The egg & sucuk are baked along with the dough, and the beaten eggs acquire an airy, spongy texture akin to a frittata. The sucuk gets that marvellous Maillard reaction, and goes crisp around the edges and expels some of its spicy oils as it cooks.⠀

The result is a charmingly chewy and stupendously satisfying bread dish. The chewiness of the carb-laden pide dough is cushioned by the soft, delicate sponginess of the egg. And for salt, a little spice and a smidge of meat, the sucuk delivers its sausage-y goodness. This is perfect as a sharing dish, but it’s also perfect for hogging all to yourself. Don’t be a sucuk-er, get your pide today!⠀

Thank you for the invite, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

1 Like

While rice is a capable complement to the sublime Güveç, there is a superior pairing. Güveç starts with a G, and so does Gözleme. Yup, it’s a match made in flavour heaven. @mavirestaurant.sg Gözleme ($13++) is shaped like a slice of pizza, and is just as irresistible as its Italian counterpart. The flatbread is stuffed full of spinach and feta cheese and baked till hot n ready.⠀

The feta cheese flavours the Gözleme quite well with its inherent saltiness, and adds some creaminess to the carb laden mix. Feta isn’t a great melting cheese, so don’t expect any cheese pulls. But what it does is make the Gözleme richer, heavier and more delicious. The spinach does help to bulk up the bread, and make this a very healthy side dish. Ordinarily, the Gözleme would be quite unremarkable, but pair it with the Güveç, and its final form is unlocked.⠀

The unleavened bread used in the Gözleme soaks up all that terrifically tasty tomato sauce, and it turns into a cheesy, tomato-y carb delivery vehicle. The unleavened flatbread does possess a fair bit of chew, but the tomato sauce from the Güveç softens it up and injects even more deliciousness into it. While these two aren’t a pair that springs to mind immediately, trust me when I say that they belong together.⠀

Thanks for the invite, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!⠀

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While the Turks are renowned for their shakshuka, I would argue that Güveç, its lesser known cousin, deserves all of the recognition that shakshuka gets, if not more. Or at least @mavirestaurant.sg rendition ($32++) does deserve that fame. A stew of chicken, bell peppers and other veg baked in a tantalising tomato sauce and topped with melted cheese, the Güveç is as every bit as hearty as it sounds.

Mavi’s Güveç is portioned into a claypot and baked till ready in a stone oven, which does require quite a fair bit of time to achieve. But when it’s ready, oh boy oh boy is it a thing of beauty. The tasty, tangy tomato sauce bubbles away gently under the beautiful blanket of browned cheese which also conceals the bell peppers & chicken stewing within the sauce. The chicken is only slightly salted, so it’s entirely up to the tomato sauce to carry the entire dish. Or in this case, claypot.

Fortunately, the tomato sauce is a bonafide MVP, carrying & flavouring this entire stew with its charming combo of Turkish spices, tanginess & umami. The paprika provides a nice hint of heat to the simmering stew, while the cumin adds its strong, unmistakable earthy, nutty & warming qualities to add a new dimension to the Güveç. Added to the sweet, sour & salty characteristics of the tomato sauce, the herbs & spices round out the flavours well and make it a truly robust stew.

Unlike the kebabs, the chicken chunks in the stew were simmered to perfection. The chook was juicy & tender, and had soaked up a great deal of flavour from the terrific tomato sauce. The bell peppers had been stewed thoroughly, becoming soft and losing their sharpness in the process. And to top it all off, the melted cheese adds that luxurious richness to the entire stew. While the Güveç is perfect with the butter rice on the side, there is a dish that is purpose built to pair with this stew.

Thank you for hosting us, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

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A proper Turkish meal starts with the classic Mediterranean staple of hummus & bread. @mavirestaurant.sg housemade hummus ($12++) is served with what they call pita bread, but I’m convinced is pide bread, but none of it really matters when you’re busy whetting your appetite with this Middle Eastern classic.⠀

The hummus was smooth but quite stodgy, with the blend of chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini & olive oil combining to make a dip that’s perfect with anything. It was charmingly creamy, and seasoned quite satisfactorily, making it a delightful dip to pair with the bread.⠀

I am an avowed disdain-er of eggplant, but Mavi’s breathtaking Babaganoush ($12++) had me hooked at the first bite. The awesome Ali Nazik was using this exact same smoked eggplant purée, and it was utterly incredible. The smokiness from the puréed eggplants elevates the already sapid flavours of the purée, and the copious addition of garlic makes the babaganoush even more delicious. Smooth, salty, smoky and simply addictive, I couldn’t help but mop up as much of it with the bread as I could.⠀

While the pita/pide bread was acceptably appealing, I preferred the Balloon Bread ($7++) instead. It’s airy, light and charmingly chewy, and more closely resembles pita bread. Perfect for wiping up every last dollop of the brilliant babaganoush and the hearty hummus.⠀

Thank you for hosting us, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

1 Like

Istanblue Meze & Grill has recently rebranded as @mavirestaurant.sg to avoid any confusion with its competitors, and they still continue to whip up tasty Turkish treats. Yes, Mavi is Turkish for blue, in case you were wondering. One of the best entrées of the night that could flawlessly pass as an appetiser for the table is the traditional Turkish dish of Ali Nazik ($24++ for chicken, $28++ for lamb).⠀

Ali Nazik (also known as Ali Nazik Kebab) is an smoked eggplant purée mixed with garlic yogurt & butter, and dotted with cubes of marinated chicken or lamb. In our case, we got the lamb Ali Nazik, and of course, it wouldn’t be Turkish cuisine without bread on the side. I normally detest eggplants, but this eggplant purée was upgraded by the inclusion of garlic yogurt & butter into the mix. The smokey, savoury & smooth eggplant purée was gloriously garlicky and decadently rich, but the lamb cubes absolutely stole the show here.⠀

The scintillatingly spiced lamb cubes were deliriously delicious, and each juicy meat cube tasted similar to a chorizo. The gaminess of the lamb was almost completely concealed by the bold, intoxicating spice marinade, and the extra spiced oil drizzled on top of it added even more flavour & lusciousness. Mavi’s Turkish pita bread that’s baked in-house looks more like pide bread, and is notably dense & chewy. It performs exceptionally at mopping up all that exquisite eggplant purée though, so all’s good.⠀

Thanks for having us over to sample your terrific Turkish treats, @mavirestaurant.sg & @burpple!

1 Like

[Eat-up] I had never tried this before but it was truly a sweet treat! It tastes like the "long xu" dimsum on the outside because of the spun pastry but was chewy and cheesy on the inside. Just like the baklava, it's drizzled with a saccharine syrup that went surprisingly well with the cheese.

Thanks Burpple and Mavi for the invite!

[Eat-up] There were about 7 of us sharing these 4 tiny pieces but we made it work. The morsel I had of this dish was flaky and not too sweet, with the addition of pistachio nuts at the bottom.

Thanks Burpple and Mavi for the invite!

[Eat-up] Texture wise, I'm not sure this held up because it was a bit mushy even for moussaka (eggplants). They certainly didn't skimp on chicken and cheese though!

Thanks Burpple and Mavi for the invite!

[Eat-up] The chicken was reasonably tender and nicely charred.

Thanks Burpple and Mavi for the invite!