Friday, October 8, 2010

Turkish belly dancing to cure the wet weather blues

Mado Cafe and Restaurant

What a newly appointed license-holder doesn't need is non-stop raining and the resultant slippery roads. I managed to slip into the back of a ute and while their car was fine, the front of mine got a bit squished.


I wasn't really in the mood to go out for dinner last night but because Hien volunteered to drive, I took the opportunity to tag along and be a passenger (very grateful).

Stormy skies at Southbank

We were wet, muddy and in my case, also cranky so we were undecided on where to go. After choosing Southbank parklands as the destination of choice, we circled for ages to find a park.

Mado happened to be the closest restaurant to where we were parked and because Turkish food sounds appealing when you're wet and cold, we decided to go there.

I've walked past Mado before and thought it looked more 'contemporary' than Turkish. Once we were seated inside, I changed my mind completely. It's decked out with Turkish-looking rugs, ornaments, plates and so on in every corner and all over the walls to make sure you didn't forget what kind of food you had committed yourself to. There were tables outside but I liked the vibrant, busy atmosphere inside.

I had lost my appetite so we just ordered some Turkish bread and dip to start plus 2 mains to share between three.

Turkish bread and hummus dip

The Turkish bread came out first with a large pot of hummus. I thought the hummus was really good. It tasted fresh and though it was quite runny, was full of flavor. In my mind, hummus tends to taste no different from the supermarket variety regardless of where you buy it but this particular one managed to stick out from the pack. I wasn't as excited about the Turkish bread. It could have been toasted better but moreover,there just wasn't enough! For just under $10, this was quite pricey for a bread and dip set and a filled bread basket would have seemed much more generous.

Partway through eating our bread, loud music interrupted our conversation. We were confused at first but then we spotted a belly dancer making her way around and all was clear. She gave an enthusiastic performance jiggling around and eventually even go other diners to join her. Though this was entertaining and amusing, we were also terrified of being selected to dance with her!

Mixed grill platter - lamb shish, chicken shish and kofte izgaza (lamb patties) cooked over a char grill and served with rice and salad

The boys were in agreement about ordering a mixed grill plate. It came out with 2 large skewers, a couple of meat patties, some rice, chutney and sauce. I had a taste of everything and decided I like the chicken and lamb skewers best. Skewers are hard to get wrong but I REALLY liked the flavor on these ones. They're described as char-grilled and you can definitely taste the 'char'. They are deeply smoky and nicely spiced. I was less interested in the meat patties (which I found dry) but the others loved them, which just goes to show... courses for horses. We all thought the chutney was fail because it had no flavor.

Tavuklu Pide (chicken pizza)- chicken with mushroom, bell peppers, tomatoes & onion added with cheese

Our other choice was the chicken and mushroom pide. It looked gorgeous and was a generous serving but on first taste, I almost couldn't believe it. It seemed completely unseasoned. I thought I was crazy until I saw Byron reach for the salt shaker and sprinkle a liberal amount on his piece.

Customized slices of pide

We ended up doing everything we could to impart flavor, even shoving on bits of chutney and sauce from the mixed grill platter. It's hard to judge a pide when you can't taste it... but I guess the topping was plentiful, the base was a nice thickness and there was a lot of cheese. So, they're all good things. I just wish it had more TASTE.

We thought our experience at Mado was 'interesting'. I liked the atmosphere and decor. I liked the belly dancing too though it's more of a trivial thing and might be annoying rather than entertaining on second visit. The food is pricier than other Turkish restaurants of equal caliber that I've been to but not that great in terms of taste. I would recommend the grilled meat and nothing else. For Turkish in Brisbane, I much prefer Mecca Bah or Caravanserai.
Mado Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Aw that's a shame about the pide. I had one at Mado last year and loved it!

    Audience participation absolutely terrifies me.

  2. Wow some people just have to the critic for the sake of it. By your comments it would suggest you have never been to Turkey. Mado's your authentic cuisine is the best I have had outside Turkey a credit to your Turkish chef's.