[Rusholme, Manchester] Venus

This was the first time visiting the kebab shop which is part of the Venus supermarket – takeaway or, as most of us were doing, eat in . We’ve often shopped at the supermarket for Turkish and Middle Eastern produce but made a point of going at lunchtime to eat. And it was not a bad lunch at all

Lamb shawarma brought a vast plate of food. Must have been getting on for 400g of tasty shreds of lamb. There’s rice, salad and bin lid of a bread roll. Bottles of chilli sauce on the tables. And, yes, in this battle of man versus food, man won. Just about.

Herself ordered a meat pide (there’s a cheese version). Not the traditional shape with turned up edges, this was more your pizza base, cut up into segments for easy eating. . Base was nice and crisp. Topping was fine, although a bit greasy. And another generous portion. Salad on the side.

Bargain lunch, including a couple of cans of Fanta – eleven quid.


Disappointing return visit. We both had shawarma. Meat was dried up, chewy and tasteless. And there was no chilli sauce to perk it up. As before, there’s rice and bread to make sure you don’t go short of carbs. But the salad was the best thing on the plate - as you’d expect, finely diced tomato, red onion and cucumber with quite big chunks of a poky green chilli.

I think next time a kebab lunch calls, we’ll drive the five minutes longer to Jaffa in Rusholme which is always reliable.

try as i might, turkish food leaves me underwhelmed. what am i missing? (obviously not dried up, chewy, tasteless meat…) but there must be something

for some reason, though, i do love a turkish breakfast with its mix of flavours and textures

If Brentford isn’t too far of a schlep for you, I’ve enjoyed Turhish food here:

That is a tricky question to answer but I tend to find the better Turkish places have many dishes I have not tried and only a few grilled meats - and I love grilled meats. Here in Sydney we are blessed with a few really great ones. Here is the menu of one of them Anason which gives you an idea of what I mean.


now, i don’t know, but i suspect that lovely looking menu is not typical in turkey itself? or maybe it is and we are eating a more old fashioned and tourist-influenced selection. that is often the case. the owners may have left turkey a long time ago and have kept their old ways. i once had a long talk with a cabbie who told me he used to own a very successful turkish restaurant. he refused to include the dishes that the non-turks expected and his customers were always surprised to not find them on the menu but loved the restaurant because of it. at least, that was his story. i was never more convinced that restaurant owners cook what they think their patrons expect than when i was in turin last year and went to a turkish restaurant. never had i had a more boring and bland meal, devoid of flavour, of garlic, of olive oil and all the things i might have expected to find here of all places! told that italians do ‘not like strong flavours’ explained the whole thing. jury is out.

anyway, i could find things on that menu for sure.

I was last in Turkey in the ‘80’s and have only distant memories of the food. But I do recall the restaurants we ate in had great interesting dishes and don’t recall too many skewers or kebabs - we were out in a pretty remote place so less touristy. IIRC we ate the wonderful kebabs after we stumbled out of Halikarnas, the famed Bodrum club.

My theory on immigrant food is that it tends to develop in generations. The first, generally oppressed migrants, need to restablish their lives and thus cook to to earn enough to survive. The food is highly adapted to meet local tastes as they can’t afford the risk of authenticity. The second generation builds. But the third generation often branches out and takes the risk of delivering more authentic, more regional, more challenging food. I see it in cuisines of many countries, the cheap and cheerful cafes gradually augmented by fine diners great menus.

The menu I shared is from one of a number of pretty fashionable Turkish places here in Sydney. The chef owns two places and his team are all Turkish - I believe he recruits chefs from different regions in Turkey in order to broaden the menu (and given the politics there I wonder if there is a growth in migration).

It’s a great cuisine and deserves a far broader stage.

i’ve always suspected so. i’ve had my share of eating british food in north america, after all. it’s not all bad but it’s predictable, really old school, not as authentic as they like to think, and changed to suit the locals. never had fish and chips outside of the UK and thought, yes this is it. i liked the episode on ugly delicious about chinese food. people argue that authentic is definitely possible outside of china but mostly in places where there are so many chinese tourists that their dishes must be the real deal. they’re also places i am highly unlikely to ever show up. you’ve also said something that i’ve guessed at too. how many ethnic restaurants are actually run by real chefs/cooks? tongue in cheek - guy arrives from xyz-land, can’t think what to work at, says i know, i’m xyz-ish, i’ll open a xyz-ish restaurant. if some talented chefs show up, it’s saved, if not, it will stay mediocre and pandering to locals. cynical, yes. but had too many ‘authentic/ethnic’ meals that were just not worth the calories. and while we’re at it, and my cynicism is still high, the word authentic needs to just go away!! so there