By Richard Reed

There’s a new restaurant in Dorchester, and it’s taking the town by storm. The Turquoise Kitchen, set in the historic surroundings of Judge Jeffreys, offers a taste of the delicious Mediterranean cuisine we have all come to love from our holidays.

It’s also great news for vegans, veggies and pescatarians (fish eaters), as the extensive menu offers plenty of choice.

Turquoise-Kitchen

Owner-chef Deniz outside the Turquoise Kitchen

Turkish-born owner-chef Deniz and his partner Paulina are as friendly hosts as you could wish for, and the atmosphere is welcoming and relaxed.

For starters my wife Jayne and I had no hesitation in choosing the mixed cold meze platter. Always a crowd-pleaser, this offers a selection of houmous, taramasalata, cacik (tzatziki), ispanak tarator (steamed spinach with yogurt and garlic), patlican soslu (aubergine in tomato sauce) and the moreish tabule (finely chopped mint with bulgur wheat, onion and tomatoes). These can all be ordered separately if preferred, but for two or three the platter is great value shared at £13.95.

Hot starters include falafel, halloumi and calamari, or a hot meze platter at £15.95.

For mains I chose the lamb casserole at £13.95; tender pieces of lamb cooked with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and onions – wonderfully tender, with a delicious tomato-based sauce.

Jayne, who is addicted to aubergine, went for the vegetarian moussaka at £14.45 – layers of aubergines, potatoes and courgettes topped with a creamy sauce. Judging from the speed she wolfed it down it was rather nice!

Other choices on the menu include kestaneli tavuk – grilled stuffed chicken breast marinated in chestnut sauce; meyveli kuzu – poached lamb with pears and apricots; and the classic kfleftiko – lamb shank cooked with baby potatoes and mixed peppers in a tomato sauce.

Vegetarian options include halloumi or goat’s cheese salad, falafel, and imam bayildi – a mixture of peppers, onions and tomatoes baked on half an aubergine.

For dessert, we decided to share delicious traditional Turkish pastries, baklava and katmer – the perfect way to finish a wonderful meal.

All washed down with a bottle of great Turkish red, Yakut Kavaklidere, that would give some Aussie reds a run for their money. Check this place out – you certainly won’t regret it. And if you take in this copy of the Voice, you will get 10% off your food order.

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