'From Field to Plate'
Welcome to A La Turka
At A la Turka we serve dishes originating from Gaziantep, a city and settlement in Turkey's South Eastern region. Being on the silk route, the region has a huge diversity and fusion of cultures. It's cuisine from all over the world give the region the name 'Food paradise'.
At A la Turka we are proud to be the only restaurants in Kent representing this regions authentic cuisine.
Giving the best possible service to our customers is very important to us and we are pleased to welcome people of all cultures to introduce and share the flavours of Turkey.
Mehmet and his staff
I am the 3rd eldest of 9 siblings, from a family of farmers from Gaziantep and arrived in the UK in 1998. My love for food began in my mother's kitchen, where I was her main helper sourcing the ingredients and preparing our meals. Food has always been a big part of my life as I also worked with my father growing the produce on our farm and selling our harvest in the local markets.
Since arriving in the UK I knew I wanted to be in the food industry, but learning the language was always my first priority. Having spent a few years working in different establishments to understand the food business in the UK has meant I was able to open my first food outlet in 2000 and first restaurant in 2006.
In 2013, having noticed the need for authentic Turkish cuisine in East Kent, I opened A la Turka in St Dunstans and Northgate in Canterbury with Herne Bay following in 2015. All the chefs that work in our three restaurants are members of my family. They understand the cuisine and are trained to prepare your meal in a consistent way whichever of our restaurants you choose to dine in.
Sourcing of the produce
Lamb meat : We locally source our lamb from butchers who work with farmers based in Kent and Sussex. We personally visit the farms and see how the lamb is fed and reared ensuring it's fed on grass and required amount of salt for the lamb's wellbeing, and allowed to graze and roam around.
Fish : Our fish comes from a Faversham fisherman where we source quality fresh salmon, sea bass, sea bream, prawns, mussels and white bait.
Chicken : We source our chickens locally from the above butchers paying particular attention to buying young poultry to ensure that the meat is succulent and tender when cooked.
Vegetables : I personally make twice weekly trips to London markets to source our vegetables for the three restaurants. Being Turkish means passionately caring about the quality and freshness of the vegetables we prepare and serve. For example we use different types of tomatoes for different dishes; so tomatoes for our salads need to be neither too ripe nor too hard whereas for our soups dishes they need to be softer and well ripened to add maximum flavour to the sauce. I will not source vegetables that I will not serve at home. For this reason I will personally select vegetables which meet our high standards.
Herbs, Spices and Sauces : We source our herbs and spices from my home city in Turkey, Gaziantep where it's picked when ready and dried under the sun. The region is famous for its herbs and spices due to it's geography allowing for ideal drying conditions where the sun locks in the flavours. Our sauces are all homemade with the exception of the pomegranate molasses used on our salads which are sourced from Mersin in Turkey. Our search for flavour and quality means our olives and olive oil are Italian as we believe this is the best for our restaurants.
Pulses : We bring all our lentils, chickpeas and bulgur wheat from Gaziantep for its freshness and to assure its quality. You will find these ingredients in our soups and hummus among other dishes on our menu.
Desserts : We have a number of delicious homemade Turkish desserts to try on our menu including baklava baked in our kitchens. You will have heard about baklava and my hometown of Gaziantep is where it was originally created and trademarked. It takes many years to become a pastry chef and trained in making baklava which requires 40 layers of filo pastry. The pastry must be so thin the masters used to test the chefs by checking to see if they can read a newspaper through each sheet. Only once they reached this level of thinness will the trainees be allowed to make baklava. The pistachios served in this homemade dish are again sourced from Gaziantep where it's grown and must be brought together with the best butter to add the flavour.
This is where the magic happens where the sourced meats, vegetables, herbs and spices are brought together by our experienced chefs in our kitchens who understand the culture of our cuisine and the high standards we expect. This is reflected in the quality of our marinades, homemade sauces and spicing that we add to our dishes to make them authentic.
Cooking over wood charcoal : Turks have shown a flair and expertise for cooking over wood charcoal (Mangal) for hundreds of years. This area of our cooking is non-negotiable. Particular attention is paid to the quality of our wood charcoal we use at our restaurants. It's got to be no thicker or thinner than a wrist to allow our chefs the optimum cooking conditions. The experience and heritage of our Turkish chefs gives them the patience to know exactly the right time to start cooking your meat and fish on the charcoal grill. Too early the food will be too smoky and too late the food will be too dry. One of our specialities at A la Turka is to finish off our flatbreads on the grill where we top it off with homemade spices before it's served fresh at your table.