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Review: Sultans Turkish Pide

Michelle Brotohusodo

Before coming to Canberra, my experience with Turkish food was limited to A La Turko (think food court chain store).

Thankfully in the decade since I’ve moved here I’ve broadened that horizon, starting with zucchini puffs at morning teas and branching out to full blown banquets, and while I don’t purport to be an expert, I like to think that I can now tell the difference between average, good, and great Turkish food. Which brings me to Sultans Turkish Pide.

A stalwart of the Gungahlin food scene, Sultans was opened by Tulay Alac and her husband 13 years ago. The shop recently relocated due to the construction going on in Gungahlin and, with its new location, also gained a new co-owner, Robyn Muscat-Presti, who was one of the staff members in the old store.

From the outside, Sultans looks like your typical Turkish takeaway. But it’s not. For starters, everything is made in-house, except the lamb doner. That means the dips, desserts, pastry, salads, breads, and more, are all made there. And you can tell the difference.

Sultan meat

Secondly, the staff are super dedicated, to the customers, and to Tulay, Robyn, and the store. To illustrate this point, the new shop took longer to build than planned, as often happens with such things.

Despite the delay, a number of the staff were happy to wait for the store to re-open, even though it meant they were unemployed during that time. I can’t think of many businesses that inspire that kind of loyalty, and I can see why Robyn says they’re a family.

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I was fortunate enough to be invited by Robyn and Tulay to check out the new store and try some of their food (and they were nice enough to let me bring a friend too). We started off with entrées—dips and bread.

The bread was fluffy and moreish, and the dips (carrot, humus, eggplant, tzatziki, and a spicy one) were wonderful. My friend, being Greek, is particular about his dips, and he said they were some of the best he’d ever had, especially the humus.

Next up was a serve of borek (rolled filo pastry with feta) and kabak (zucchini fritters). Both of these were delicious. The pastry of the borek was light and flaky, and the kabak was full of flavour and had a nice contrast in texture between the crispier outside and soft inside.

The next entrée was something I’d never seen or heard of before—a plate of manti (Turkish dumplings/ravioli). I loved these, and kept eating them well past the point of ‘OMG I’m so full I really need to stop’. Tulay makes the manti herself, and it takes her three days to make 12kg.

Sultan manti

Following the entrées we were presented with two types of pide, a plate of mixed meats, rice, and flatbread, and a serve of coban salatasi (shepherd’s salad, a traditional favourite in Turkey and Greece).

If you’re reading this and wondering how on earth we were going to eat it all, that’s pretty much how we felt as well!

Sultan pide

While everything we tried was good, the absolute highlight was the flatbread. Neither of us had had such light and fluffy flatbread before, it was good enough to eat on its own.

It’s what Sultans use to make their kebabs, and I can see why the kebabs are one of the most popular items on the menu (as is all the bread in general, people will come in just to buy the different kinds of bread). My friend also particularly liked the chicken, which was delicious and juicy, and I really enjoyed my first taste of coban salatasi.

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Just when we thought we were done, Tulay and Robyn joined us for Turkish coffee, tea, and dessert. I’m not a coffee fan, but appreciated how pretty the cups were. My friend happily drank my coffee as well as his own.

Sultan coffee

The tea I enjoyed, and the desserts were lovely, and not just because I have a sweet tooth. The baklava wasn’t too sweet, as it can sometimes be, and while I don’t normally like rice pudding, the ones we had here were delicious and moreish, especially with the cinnamon.

Sultan dessert

We left feeling very full and happy, but vowing to come back to try the kebabs—oh, that flatbread! Gunghalinites, I don’t know how you’ve been keeping this place secret for so long, but the secret’s out now, and everyone else, if you like Turkish food, you need to get yourself to Sultans quick smart!

the essentials

The place: Sultans Turkish Pide
Where: Shop 9, 30 Hibberson Street, Gungahlin
When: 9am-10pm, Monday-Sunday
Food: Turkish and Lebanese
Contact: Call 02 6156 5617 or visit their website or Facebook page

The author and her friend dined courtesy of Sultans Turkish Pide, but all opinions remain their own.

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Michelle Brotohusodo

Michelle moved to Canberra vowing to stay for two years, tops. 10 years later, she’s a bona fide Canberra convert. When she’s not working in her day job as a public servant, she’s enjoying Canberra’s culinary delights or finding fun things to do/see in and around town. More about the Author

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