Ξ March 25th, 2008 | → 4 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, Restaurant Reviews |
Arif Nihat Asya Sokak #37, Oran, Ankara.
On my first night in Ankara I was invited to the Wine House Restaurant, in the Southern district of Oran, with a group of Turkish business colleagues. Stepping through the doorway you pass by a small barrel and a rack of wines from the local Kavaklidere winery and walk into an elegant wooden interior, similar in style to Eastern European hunting lodges (it says Swiss Chalet on their web-site). There are two floors, the main lower dining room and an upper balcony floor with an open central area looking down on the diners below.
The wine theme is maintained as you walk to your seat past a display table containing bottles in baskets and racks. My hosts knew of my wine interests and they briefly showed me the wine list, but, on seeing the indigenous varieties and producers, I knew when to admit defeat and was happy to sit back and let them discuss with the Sommelier on which wine to have with our meal. The Kavaklidere Öküzgözü Elazag 2000 was settled upon and, as there were 6 of us drinking, a Magnum was opened and decanted (this was my first ever Magnum!).
In the glass the colour was very light, similar to a Pinot Noir, with orange-brown edges showing the bottle age. It had a delicate, oaky nose with some sweet spice and possible a dash of liquorice. The taste was also light, but still had some good tannins and a little sour cherry on the tongue. This was a good wine, oaky, complex and medium length (88-89pts).
The food was very enjoyable too. We started with Feta-style cheese with fresh crusty bread, olives and olive oil and then some baked cheese, a local equivalent of baked Camembert. For the main dish I had a Bodrum Kebab, thinly sliced sirloin on a bed of crispy shredded potato, almost vermicelli like, and some fresh yoghurt on the side. The potato wasn’t to my taste, a bit too crispy, but the meat had an excellent flavour and I finished off the food and wine while watching the other patrons enjoy their evening.
I couldn’t tell you how much the dinner came to, as my hosts covered the bill (thanks to Murat and Riza for the experience!) – the food would have been reasonable, as is usually is in Turkey, but the wine was likely to have been expensive as the Turkish Government imposes painfully high taxes on alcohol, especially wine. Nevertheless this was a lovely evening and this is a good restaurant to visit if you are ever in Ankara.
On leaving I noticed a wall plaque of the key wine producing areas of Turkey showing how widespread Grape and Vine are – something that tends to get overlooked by Western drinkers when they consider this country that straddles Europe and Asia.