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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Istanbul Gourmet

So it seems that a lot of people remember 'that Kebab shop from Simei Eastpoint' even though it closed down quite awhile back and Eastpoint itself is undergoing major renovations.

Well I'm not sure how many people knew but the one at Eastpoint was apparently just a smaller branch.
The main restaurant is actually at Joo Chiat Road! I actually walked past the one at Joo Chiat awhile back and I made a note to bring my darling wife there one day but I had no idea at all that it was the same place! Founded since 1999!

Open for so long means they should be doing a thing or two correctly am I right?

So anyways they opened a new stall at Changi City Point recently and since I spotted it, I've been hearing nothing but praises from people about their Laksa! Hmmm... well let's see what the fuss is about.

Chicken Kebab ($4.50)
So when I think Turkish food, i automatically think of Kebab.
Kebab actually refers to the sliced roasted meat so you can have many many different types of Kebab including more common ones like Doner, Roll, Kofta, Iskander and Shish.

The Kebab here at Istanbul Gourmet is the Doner version which is basically the meat and veggies in between some flatbread or pita bread.

The chicken meat itself was quite tender but I felt it was lacking in flavour. Maybe I was expecting too much after all the good reviews I had been hearing. I saw that the chicken was being cooked in the traditional way on the rotating roasting spit and the meat was definitely not over-cooked and still juicy.

Or perhaps the lack of seasoning in the chicken meat was intentional?
The description on the menu says "Freshly-baked bread with with choice of chicken or mutton. Topped with onions, lettuce, tomatoes and Istanbul Gourmet's signature salad dressing".

Well I'm not 100% sure but I think it was just mayonaise and chili sauce in there.
And some pieces of potato! (Which was a welcome surprise)

Mutton Kebab ($6.50)
I normally go for the 'other' kebab instead of chicken. So this is normally lamb, beef or in this case - mutton.

As it's quite safe to say, the mutton was not cooked the same was as the chicken meat on the rotating spit.
This mutton was minced and scooped out of a warmer when I ordered so I'm not really sure how it was prepared.

Anyways I have to say that this was the first time I was having MINCED meat in any kebab.

What I can tell you is that it is definitely more flavourful than its chicken meat counterpart.
You can really taste the spices in the meat but unfortunately since it's minced, you don't really get to take a nice big satisfying chomp into the meat.

For both versions of the kebab, they give you a nice soft bun which unfortunately gets a bit soggy by the time you get home. Because there is no seating area at the Changi City Point outlet ("No Frills Dining"), you'll have a bit of a challenge if you're gonna buy back some kebabs to bring all the way home.

Maybe you might consider eating it on one of the benches in the mall so you can enjoy it fresh?
But then you'll have the challenge of not looking like a clown because kebabs do tend to be a little messy in nature if you're eating it especially in public. Having sauce dripping down your chin onto your clothes would be a nightmare so be careful! :)

PS you can add Cheese to your Kebab for an extra $1.

But hey what about this Laksa I was hearing about so much eh???

Istanbul Laksa ($4.00)

Well so basically this is their take on the local favourite - Laksa.

One of the special things about it is that they put a serving of the Chicken Kebab meat and some fish cake so you have some extra bite. No prawns or cockles. Just Chicken Kebab meat.

Okay I can't avoid mentioning it anymore. What's up with the oil??
That's quite a layer of oil am I right? And I'm not sure where the oil is coming from...

Once you actually dig in, the Laksa gravy is actually quite tasty!
It's got quite a unique taste to it... Not like your typical Laksa. A bit of a tangy/spicy hint to it.
Take a bit of getting used to but I guess it was tasty enough that you keep going spoon after spoon after spoon til it's all gone!

And as you can see from the picture, the oil was just the top layer so I'm not sure where the oil came from.
Perhaps from the Kebab meat? Hmmmm.... Anyways just like the Chicken Kebab, the meat was not really seasoned very strongly so it contributed nothing to the taste of the Laksa. Just some meat to munch on.

My darling wife didn't have much but after a few spoonfuls she commented that it didn't taste the same as what she remembered from the old days at Simei Eastpoint.

Adam's Verdict:
Chicken Kebab 2/5 -- Mutton Kebab 2/5 -- Laksa 2.5/5

I wasn't really impressed with Istanbul Gourmet on this visit. Especially since it was the founder, top chef and big boss - Mr Henry Teo - who was behind the cooking counter when I visited (I recognize him from his picture on the name card). I guess maybe I set my expectations really high but having to bungkus makes a difference.

But I do intend to visit the Joo Chiat restaurant because I really feel not being able to eat there makes a big difference to the food. Plus there are some items that seem really interesting... Like the Beef Bomb!!
Hope my 2nd try of Laksa goes better!

Istanbul Gourmet

5 Changi Business Park Central 1
Changi City Point

Tel: 64406026 / 98410260 (Mr Henry Teo)

Operating Hours:
10.00am til 10.00pm Daily


  1. The original restaurant was the one at Eastpoint. The Joo Chiat branch opened a few years back as part of an expansion, followed by the CCP branch when Eastpoint started its renovation. Can't wait for them to move back!

    1. Wow! Thanks for the info! The Joo Chiat one seems like it's been there forever and it's also the biggest.
      Let's wait and see if they re-open at Eastpoint once reno is completed!

  2. They will not reopen at east point mall apparently

    1. Guess we'll just have to head down to Katong or CCP then :))

      Thanks for the update MS Sui