How does the idea of mixing jaljeera powder with pineapple juice sound? Not so palatable? We thought as much. Except at the month-old Baris in Greater Kailash II, it yields a palette-knockout, with bits of pineapple wriggling their way through the straw. The capacious restaurant’s interiors evoke an Ottoman resplendence belying the worn-out exterior of the building in which it is housed.
An intricate Kundekari design adorns the cover of the menu which, thankfully, goes beyond the regular mezze platters, pita pockets and falafels. The menu also reiterates the commonalities between Indian and Turkish cuisine — the use of yoghurt, tomatoes and garlic; and dishes such as koftas, kebabs and pulao, among others.
A well-provisioned Shefin Salatsi of sauteed lamb “leaflets” and arugula leaves, nimbly wrapped in thin slices of cucumber, glazed with a perfectly balanced fig vinaigrette, made for a crisp and fresh entree.
A Turkish meal makes the mezze a requisite, though the provenance of the Yaprak Sarma that we ordered remains unknown. In Greece, they are called dolmades while in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria, they are known as warq enab. Vine leaves rolled up like cigars carried within them rice, pine nuts and black currants, and were served with a garlic yoghurt sauce. The appetiser demonstrated a delicate play of muted flavours that invoked, at once, both satiation and greed.
Turkish chef Sahin Ibis’s recommendation, the Urfa Kebab (made with peppers from Urfa, Sanliurfa Province), makes an enduring impression. The tender morsels of charbroiled lamb piled on top of lavash with crispy onion wedges, tangy pickled red cabbage and the tart cicak sauce respond to each other in perfect harmony. If the kebab was the only dish worth trying here, it would still be worth it to make the trip. But, Baris offers yet another jewel — Mahmudiye. An intense Ottoman dish of succulent pieces of chicken thighs perched atop a dome of saffron infused, golden-yellow rice flavoured with dried apricots, raisins, butter-cooked almonds and cinnamon, exemplified both dexterity and subtlety in handling flavours. But, Turkish cuisine, much like Indian food, is unpretentious. And the modern plating sucked the fun out of it.
If there’s room for dessert, give the Baklava Duo a try. Sweet philo dough pastry made rich by walnuts and pistachios, soaked in cinnamon syrup with a dollop of clotted cream. Decadence needn’t always be denounced.
Meal for two: Rs 2,500 (approx)
Address: Building No. 3, Local Shopping Complex, Masjid Moth, Greater Kailash II