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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkish Delights Come to Moscow




Once upon a time, there was a German beer bar called Kaiser. Then two Turkish businessmen, in between building Moscow high-rises, decided to buy it and turn it into a Turkish restaurant. Their vision carried them toward interiors saturated with the traditional blue colors of the Ottoman Empire where lampshades and chandeliers of tinted glass shed an unobtrusive light onto three dining halls and a mural depicting towering oriental minarets and starry skies over the Bosporus.


In the recently opened Ottoman restaurant, a tent serves as one dining hall, andyou are invited to sit on the floor by a low, exotic table, resting your back on colorful cushions. Slippers are available - as is a belly dancer, if you place a request one day in advance.


"We wanted to create an exclusive restaurant catering to connoisseur clients," said Aydin Karabulut, one of the two Turkish owners. "After two months of business, we are satisfied. Our clients are certainly above average."


From a mobile display tray, guests are invited to choose from up to 20 varieties of salads and cold hors d'oeuvres. There are green peppers stuffed with rice, cush uzumi, nuts that taste like soft fruit, mushrooms covered with homemade yogurt and eggplant prepared according to the recipe Imam Baalagi, or the Imam has fainted. Salads cost around 70 rubles ($2.80) each or you can combine small portions of all of them for 200 rubles.


"The dining tradition of the Ottoman Empire commands that cold appetizers must be followed by a hot one, as a transitional phase preceding the main course," general manager Hakki Erkaya said, pointing out the various hot starters on the menu: Pastrami in a steaming bag of foil, Lahmacun, minced lamb on a layer of crisp bread, and crispy cigars, rolls of thin dough stuffed with cottage cheese, or lamb seasoned with spices. The hot appetizers average about 80 rubles a plate.


The restaurant doesn't serve pork, but its 55 main course items include lamb and veal kebabs, Beyati Kapali, spicy, minced lamb in a crust, and lamb chops; all cost between 250 and 300 rubles.


Alternatively, opt for the special Ottoman kebab - an almost lethal combination of various grilled meats, vegetables and mushrooms sprinkled with cheese and partially covered with yogurt sauce. The special kebab is served on a heated plate and costs 450 rubles. Vegetables and potatoes are included with all main courses. The menu also offers six kinds of pipe, or giant pies, with spicy meat stuffing.


All the meat served is marinated one day in advance by the authentic Turkish chef, who admits to using special Turkish buharat, original meat seasoning brought over from Turkey. The food is then cooked either on charcoal or in Turkish pottery, which absorbs animal fat.


The restaurant serves all kinds of alcohol, including raku, an aniseed spirit, which could serve either as an appetizer or a digestif. It can be enjoyed while being waited on by bare-bellied, long-legged girls sporting bright red embroidered trousers as you are serenaded at about 10 p.m. by two Turkish singers with brown eyes, healthy smiles and soft voices. To recover from their songs of love, unrequited and otherwise, order some coffee, brought directly from Turkey.


Ottoman, 1 Bolshoi Savinsky Pereulok. Open 11 a.m. to midnight. Tel. 248-3597. Metro: Park Kultury/Frunzenskaya. All major credit cards accepted. Reservations obligatory.