We are all eager to travel again and explore new cultures by trying new foods after months of being stuck inside due to the pandemic. While I’ve never been to a Turkish restaurant in the UK, I had the opportunity to travel to Turkey three times and I can safely say that the food is simply amazing.
Sedir Restaurant is one of a few restaurants in Dartford serving Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine. I can guarantee you that you won’t leave the restaurant hungry or frustrated.
Let’s start with the atmosphere first. I was lucky enough to arrive at a quiet time, which means I had the entire restaurant to myself. It was a Monday afternoon but the owner assured me that it gets a lot busier on the weekend.
If you head to your right upon entering, you will notice a whole room turned into a typical street in Istanbul – something I didn’t expect. Clothes hanging outside ‘fake’ windows, traditional doors, post-boxes, and street lamps – it certainly felt like we travelled miles away from Dartford.
You will have a large range of starters including, Baba Ganoush, Halloumi, Falafel and many more. I decided not to order any starters as I was told by the owner that the grills would come with bread and a few sides.
I barely had time to sit at a table when the waitress brought me warm bread, hummus, olives, Ezme – a tomato, onion and pepper salad, and Cacik – chopped cucumber & a hint of garlic in a creamy yoghurt sauce. It was really filling and tasted fresh.
Then, I went for the Adana Kebab, one of their best sellers. It is mixed lamb with parsley and peppers cooked on a charcoal grill. This is served with mixed salad and rice. It tasted a lot like a kebab I had in Istanbul in 2019 and brought back a lot of memories. The meat was almost melt-in-your-mouth tender. It was warm and well seasoned.
Are you vegetarian? Do not even worry, there are a few options available including the Vegetarian Kebab which consists of mixed grilled vegetables served with rice and salad. You may have heard about Turkish hospitality? They didn’t disappoint. I got a lovely Turkish tea to finish on a sweet note.
The restaurant opened eight years ago with the aim to serve authentic Turkish and Mediterranean food. Owner Ahmet Aslanboga said he was the first Turkish restaurant to open in the town. He said: “I wanted to share Turkish culture and the quality of the food. Most of our customers are British.
“Opening your own restaurant is not easy, especially when it’s Mediterranean dishes. And the pandemic absolutely killed the business because of lockdowns. People started working from home during the pandemic, they now order on Deliveroo, Uber Eat and don’t come to the restaurant.”
Ahmet owns other businesses in Kent and believes his restaurant in Dartford will remain open despite the impact of COVID. The 44-year-old, who originally moved to the UK in 1998 to learn English, said: “I love photography. I like art. But to work in photography you need to learn English and that’s why I was interested in coming to this country.”
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