If you want to taste the world in Derby, Normanton is the place to do it. On Normanton Road alone, there are almost thirty restaurants offering every type of food that you can imagine.
This week, we fancied Turkish food and so we headed to Istanbul Restaurant, which opened in October last year. The restaurant has branches across the country in Leicester, Manchester, Birmingham, and Oldham.
The Leicester branch even welcomed Prince Charles in 2017 when he visited the city. With a royal visit under its belt and promising reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, we were excited to see what Istanbul could offer.
The restaurant was quiet, as could be expected for a Tuesday, but the staff were really friendly and attentive nonetheless. The restaurant itself can seat 120 people at full capacity and has an open kitchen where you can see all of your food being prepared.
The entire place was spotless with not a single chair or table out of place. This, combined with the pictures of Prince Charles on the back of the menu, showed that Istanbul takes a great deal of pride in what it does.
Istanbul’s menu is vast and you are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to what they offer. The restaurant advertises that it can cater to many dietary needs, from vegetarian to gluten-free.
For starters, you are given the option of cold and hot plates. We went for hummus, cacik (yoghurt, garlic, lemon and dill), halloumi, and sigara boregi (pastry filled with feta cheese and parsley).
The hummus was so smooth and rich that it felt like a cloud, and along with the cacik it was the perfect partner for the mountain of complimentary bread. The sigara boregi were perfectly crisp and the restaurant provided a very generous portion of halloumi.
To be perfectly honest, we would have been satisfied with the starters as a full meal and soon realised the huge task we had set for ourselves when the mixed grill for two that we had ordered arrived at the table.
On one of the warmest days of the year so far, a plate of perfectly barbequed meat presented something of a challenge. The mixed grill comes with chicken kofte and adana kofte, three lamb ribs, three chicken wings, chicken and lamb shish, chicken doner, lamb doner as well as a mountain of rice and couscous. All of it was amazingly cooked.
The only snag in the whole mix was the size of our stomachs, which meant that we were forced to take a doggy bag home.
The amount of food on our plates could and will feed us for at least a couple of days, but that is definitely not a bad thing. We were amazed at the sheer amount of food that we got for two people and thought that it was very good value for money.
The only issue was coming across as rude at how small a dent we made in the food, and we had to stress to staff that we really were enjoying it. The waiters were so kind and attentive, and nothing was a problem at all.
Istanbul is definitely on our list of places to go back to and we certainly recommend that you make the trip to Normanton if you have not tried it yet.
Cacik – £3.95
Hummus – £3.95
Halloumi – £4.95
Sigara boregi – £4.95
Mixed plater for two – £29.95
Can of Diet Coke – £2.45
Pineapple juice – £2.00
Total – £52.20