Lunch break: Cafe Istanbul

I know I’m not alone in sometimes just wanting “a little bit of this and that”. After all whole cuisine cultures have grown up around exactly that – just think of dim sum and tapas.
So fancying a change from the norm, and a bit of this and that, I set out for the far off climes of Manchester’s Bridge Street and Cafe Istanbul.
This smart eaterie has long been popular for the lunch-time crowds and the leather seats in the large windows always seem to be full on passing by.
My visit was no exception and we reluctantly accepted a seat in the smoking area out of necessity. Cafe Istanbul offers lunch visitors a choice of two set menus, made up of a selection of small dishes on a platter, or a set two course lunch- or a choice off their main menu.
My lunch companion (Himself doesn’t do lunch!) plumped for a healthy sounding goat’s cheese salad and some of the cracked wheat salad which forms a speciality of this type of Mediterranean cooking.
I went for menu choice B and was rewarded with large square plate containing an extensive list of mouthwatering sounding dishes.
Some of the offering was indeed as mouthwatering as it sounded – the humus was just the right texture, neither to course or runny, the spinach with yoghurt was as creamy as you would want it to be and the feta cheese triangle as light in the mouth as a choux bun.
Who can go wrong with a stuffed vine leaves? And the tabbouleh
(wheat salad) was herby and textured but I was disppointed with the lamb meat balls and potato croquettes feeling they were on the greasy side. However that’s the beauty of trying a varied plate like this – it doesn’t really matter becuase there’s bits you do like and, at £5.75, it isn’t going to break the bank trying it out.
My companion didn’t fare quite so well. Her healthy sounding salad was promptly sent back to the kitchen when it arrived slathered in mayonnaise which hadn’t been listed on the menu and an attempt to get olive oil failed dismally somewhere between a language barrier and the bustle of the busy restaurant.
Our lunch also turned out to be rather more leisurely than we intended as we waited to order, then to recieve the food, then to get coffees and finally, giving up, took ourselves to the counter to pay.

Plus:
Wide range of dishes to suit any taste.
Minus: Slow service for a busy lunch.
Value: Well-priced for business lunches or shopping expeditions.

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