- Food & Drink
Maya Garden Restaurant, 17 Uzun Cars?, Kas
You would think after second helpings of moussaka and dolmades at lunch I’d want a nice, light dinner – or maybe even no dinner at all. If you do think that, then you don’t know me very well. What I wanted was at least 2 courses and plenty of Turkish red wine, which the Maya Garden Restaurant amply supplied.
There are 2 entrances to Maya – the first is through the ultra tasteful shop on Slippery Street, the cobbled thoroughfare that’s home to the most elegant towel, lantern and hookah pipe stores in Kas.
The second entrance leads straight into the beautiful, dimly lit garden, where we settled around the central table. Well padded chairs, canopied side tables and plump cushions ensured Maya was the most romantic and atmospheric restaurant I ate in Kas.
The meal began with a free pasty – always a good start. A potato-heavy vegetable stuffing wrapped in pastry akin to shortcrust and fried, it came with a bowl of yogurt that had been thoroughly herbed with dill.
My actual starter was the seasonal salad (TL8). It was, very simply, tomatoes, lettuce and cucumber dressed with olive oil and a touch of something sour – I think it was sour pomegranate syrup.
It was fantastic and I speak as a noted salad dodger, well practiced in the art of avoiding mixed leaves, vegetable medleys and panaches of grated carrot. I’d ordered the salad in order to balance out the obscene amount of bread I’d been eating (in my neurotic lady mind, punishment salad eating equals a healthy diet) but I adored it. The vegetables were fresh and sweet, the dressing moreish and I astonished myself by greedily eating every last scrap.
My main course was slightly less successful. I had grilled fish (TL20) – 2 fillets of firm, flaking white fish, which I assumed was sea bream, the default fish of choice in Kas. It was well cooked, glistening with oil and crawling with fronds of dill. But it was also crunchy with salt.
Even my saline palate took a step back in shock at the first bite. It wasn’t inedible; underneath the salt flat the fish was very good, but it required regular drafts of acidic Majestik red wine to ensure my mouth didn’t go into a sodium coma.
More beautifully dressed salad leaves and two piping hot pan-fried potatoes accompanied the fish. If it hadn’t been for the over liberal seasoning, I would’ve called it a perfect meal.
Cinarlar Beach Club, Kas
Kas doesn’t have beaches, it has cliffs that terraces have been stapled onto so tourists can bask like Speedo clad seals on sun loungers, regularly fed by an agile crowd of waiters bringing beers, burgers and ice cream.
Well greased with sun tan lotion, I lingered on a lounger for a few hours, watching the bolder sunbathers attempting to descend into the sea. The beach clubs don’t usually charge for the sun loungers, they just expect you to buy some food and drink. I opted for a small beer (TL3) and a local cheese and tapenade sandwich (TL8).
Crusty bread, 2 chunky slabs of salty cow’s cheese, thick handfuls of sweet salad and pools of oily black tapenade, it was the kind of sandwich that makes you feel grateful for gambling aristocrats and their mealtime inventiveness.
Uzumlu Pide Salonu, Unknown Town
Apologies for the unspecified address. I thought I’d taken a picture of the restaurant sign with address but now that I look at it, the Turkish sign clearly says “Uzumlu Pide Salonu: Various Pides, Baked Chicken, Baked Trout”. A thorough description of the menu, not much help if you want to find the place.
And Uzumlu is the sort of place you’d want to seek out. The tables are set out on a huge vine covered terrace in the middle of town. Within a few minutes of sitting down, our pre-ordered pides and trout arrived (our guide had phoned our order ahead while we were finished the last few kilometres of our mountain walk).
I’d opted for a meat pide. The meat was unspecified, but I’ll guess beef. It’d been finely ground and added a layer of richness to the glossy, greasy, cheesy pide. It was perfect post-walking fare and I think I ate steadily for 20 minutes without saying a word.
Pide consumed, I lingered over another delicious salad, accompanied by a slice or 3 of freshly baked pide bread. For dessert we ate grapes cut from the vines above our heads and drank glasses of sweet Turkish tea. The price of this meal, including soft drinks, was a ludicrously cheap TL12.
Plates and plates of fresh vegetables, baskets of bread still warm from the oven, lightly cooked seafood just pulled from the sea – not the usual over rich restaurant food that has me reaching for the fruit bowl when I get home from a holiday. I have a suspicion a week in Turkey actually did me and my digestive system good. Thank the lord I’m back in London and can correct that. Burger and chips, anyone?