Any night that includes belly dancing (by someone else, not me that is!) is a winner in my books. I mean, who doesn’t love a side of belly dancing while tucking into their evening meal?!
I have wanted to visit La Turka in Monton (outskirts of Manchester) since it opened, but every time I had a spare Friday or Saturday evening it was always fully booked! Eventually I had a free Saturday evening in the not too distant future and so took the chance and managed to book a table for four of us for a night of (hopefully) yummy food and entertainment.
Soon it was upon us and I got all dolled up ( for the first time since my tropical disease had pretty much kept me bed ridden and house bound) ready to hit the town, or rather the streets of Monton! It was my first night drinking in months, so I was trying to pace myself so I could fully enjoy the night. I am a bit of lightweight as it is, let alone when I have been off the booze for so long! We started off with drinks at the nearby Champagne bar of Bodega. Despite the fact I was all dolled up, hair and make up, the lot, I still got asked for ID! Luckily I am used to this, yes I am 27 but I am always asked for ID, so I never leave without it, and today was no exception. It does get a bit embarrassing though, I know it should be a compliment, but do I really look THAT young?!
I am normally a fan of Bodega but something had changed, I was served champagne in a wine glass, which is just bizarre, and the average age of clientele was well into the 50s. We felt somewhat out of place. We drank our drinks and then headed across the road to La Turka for dinner.
The restaurant was absolutely packed when we arrived and was buzzing with chatter and music. The atmosphere was electric, despite the fact we were again, the youngest there. Maybe Monton is a place for those somewhat older than us? There were two large groups celebrating a 40th and a 50th and it was the chef’s birthday as well, so there was a lot going on and many bursts of ‘happy birthday’ ringing around the room.
We were seated in the window, right next to the live singer and as we were a bit tucked away, it felt a bit more private but we were also able to see out across the rest of the restaurant. We took a while perusing the menu as it was very extensive! We ordered a couple of bottles of wine to accompany the meal and devoured these pretty quickly (this may explain how I felt the next day!). My boyfriend and I shared the mezze platter which was delicious, and we would have quite happily just ordered a larger portion of this for our entire meal, which is what we will do if we go again. It consisted of hummus, pitta breads, halloumi, Turkish sausage, feta parcels, stuffed vine leaves, coleslaw, roasted aubergine and Circassian chicken. It was delicious.
For my main I ordered the skewered garlic prawns with vegetables and rice. It was rather nice and the prawns were cooked well but it wasn’t really anything special and the vegetables were a bit on the al dente side, which some people may prefer but I like them well cooked. It was nice enough though, but as I said before, I would probably just have a huge mezze platter next time. My boyfriend went for the piri piri chicken which he really enjoyed, and our friends ordered the chili prawns, apparently these were super spicy, and the spicy lamb dish, and they enjoyed both.
Just before our desserts were served, the lights were dimmed and out came the belly dancer, swinging her hips in ways that completely mesmerize you and kinda make your eyes a bit dizzy. The music was thumping and everyone was up cheering as she meandered her way through the maze of tables, shaking her hips as she went. She was introduced as ‘Shakira’ and in the words of Shakira, hips do not lie.
For dessert, the boys ordered two of the ice cream sundaes which were pretty epic and apparently tasted just as good as they looked. Us girls went for the chocolate cake, which was nice enough but it tasted like every other chocolate fudge cake, I kinda wished I’d gone for one the ice cream sundaes. I then finished off the meal with an espresso martini (yes, I thought I was coping well, clearly the alcohol already consumed had me fooled!).
We finished off our drinks singing along with the live singer, as the tables were rearranged and a dance floor created. We left as the dance floor filled with middle aged men and women, pretending that they too were Shakira.
Average age aside, we had a great night. The food was good, the mezze was amazing, and the atmosphere was buzzing. I would definitely go back again and enjoy some more hummus and belly dancing. An awesome combination.