Kiyi the authentic Turkish Restaurant is a great reason to head to Ajman. You may only know it as one of the Emirates you normally drive through to get to another but this Turkish restaurant is very much helping to make Ajman and the Fairmont Ajman destinations in their own right.
Kiyi the authentic Turkish Restaurant
You know that we often shy away from doing “restaurant reviews,” which may seem odd for a food blog based in Dubai or anywhere in the UAE and we have our reasons. To fairly “review” a restaurant, we just think it would take several visits over time and some period after opening to get a proper perspective. That said, we sometimes share restaurants that we have been to in our Dining Out Series.
This post is sponsored by The Fairmont Ajman, which we featured for a family staycation recently.
Draped in yards of luxuriously rich fabric, this restaurant has lots of traditional Turkish accents with many accents directly from Turkey. The restaurant is quite a large one but still has the ability to be somewhat intimate because of the large drapery. The Ottoman empire is accentuated in everything from tea and coffee service to the light fixtures and tiles on the wall. There is even a ‘harem room,” which is an ode to the rooms so dedicated for the women in the harem of the emperors and other highly placed men. It is like an Arabian majlis, or a meeting room to entertain guests and is perfect for private parties.
The kitchen is run by a seasoned Turkish chef and you can tell. Chef Fahri Karatas has travelled the globe cooking his traditional Turkish foods and shares his passion for Turkey in his culinary artistry.
Turkish food is similar to the Levant & Middle Eastern Cuisines, which have been derived from the far-reaching Ottoman Empire which basically controlled the old world. Lots of dishes from both Mediterranean/Levant and Middle Eastern cuisines have their roots in Turkey. When ordering, get a selection of Hot and Cold Mezzes, which are small starters. A restaurant that pays keen attention to its bread basket signals an interest in detail of the dishes to come and Kiyi did not disappoint. In fact, it was the hardest thing ever to try and restrain ourselves from eating too much of the bread. It was that good and definitely among the best we have had in any restaurant.
Honestly, just putting together this posts makes me salivate.
They also have Turkish wines on offer to complement the dishes.
Definitely one one of our favourite hot Mezzes, this is Karışık Börek Tabağı, a trio of filled fried pastry with spinach, fetta cheese, beef, tomato sauce and yoghurt. All absolutely delicious. This seems like a precursor to Italian lasagna in construction.
This is Kabak Mücver, or Zucchini mucver with yoghurt garlic sauce. Definitely one of the highlights of the evening. I could eat this over and over again. Like seriously. These are the moistest, juiciest zucchini fritters served with the most balanced sauce.
This divinely delicious soup is called Ezogelin çorbası. It’s a traditional spicy bulgur and red lentil soup with mint and tomatoes and is incredibly moreish! Crack some fresh pepper (and a little extra salt for me, not Chef) for even more kick, For some reason, it took me back emotionally to a Jamaican Red Peas Soup which is a completely different flavour and texture profile but it has all the elements of comfort in a bowl.
The head chef Fahri Karats who managed to make restaurant food taste like a family meal.
Chef’s main beef that he enjoyed with a crispy rice cake.
I felt like seafood so I ordered a skewer with scallops, fish and prawns.
A cold mezze platter. Bubs “tasting” everything by dipping his fingers.
One of his absolute favourite accessories. He takes pride in wearing a chef hat “just like daddy.”
From the knowledgeable and warm Turkish hostess, Arza to the restaurant manager, Hamdi, Kiyi’s team was 100 per cent Turkish. This definitely added to the feel of being transported outside Ajman into an otherworldly experience. It is a great thing when such a specific restaurant concept has the authenticity of natives in both front of house and kitchen.
As tricky as dining with a toddler can be, the team was very accommodating. It certainly was eventful for us that evening when our 2yo Apprentice insisted on the Filipino “Pancit” noodles in a Turkish restaurant. Since we dined during the week when the restaurant was not busy, they went as far as getting him pasta and tomato sauce from another restaurant, avoiding the epic toddler meltdown.
Being new to the cuisine, we were able to get great recommendations from Arza, who helped us order an array of dishes that would give us a wider appreciation of Turkish food. The great thing is that the whole concept of Turkish food is a sharing one so ordering many mezzes is a safe way to go. The service staff was attentive throughout the evening and they all interacted with our son, which definitely helped to keep him from getting bored during dinner. As we are learning, dining out with a toddler is completely different from a younger or even slightly older child.
Would we return? Definitely. The trick is to book for a night at the hotel. Arrive early and on your favourite drinks at the pool on the terrace and then get dressed for dinner. Continue sipping on your wine during dinner, which you should end with a digestif shot of Rakia. If time and preference permit, the shisha lounge XOLOis right next door to Kiyi. It was great having bubs with us for the weekend to bond together as a family but the trip is just as great a experience as a romantic getaway, which we had enjoyed just a month prior.
The Turkish restaurant manager and hostess who had us planning our trip to Turkey by the end of the evening.