CCU Undercover + A Wannabe Gozleme

This song is the most adequate to start this post with :)

Donned in her evening gown, her earrings swinging, she clutched her… clutch, walking determinedly in her high heels though they slipped in the sand. She could hear the Bedouin camp’s music, the smell of musky incense drawing her in as she came closer.

She held her phone to her heart, her only resource to secretly document every manoeuver, mistake and perfection. Finally, she pulled back the silken flaps of the camp, heavy gold cords holding them loosely shut to immerse herself in the world of rich wines and exotic foods.

review title
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Ok, no, I was not wearing an evening gown or high heels (though I was wearing nice earrings :D) nor did I tramp through any sand and pull back curtains on a tent.

No, ma famille et moi, we strolled on Darling Harbour and it was beautiful. The ambience, the atmosphere, the everything was magical. Even more so at night :)
**Note: I apologise in advance for the lack of lighting in photos, especially for my brother’s dish and the falafels!

On arrival to Kazbah, we were surprisingly early even though it was 7pm booking. Dimly lit lights, a very Moroccan-Persian style mix of an interior, with silk curtains leading to an entertainment area, a Hookah casually sitting and the atmosphere actually made you want to relax and fine dine.There was also soft, Turkish music playing in the background, setting the mood even more. All in all, the interior was just very impressive.

kazbah dining 4
On being seated, I loved that each plate was a different style, adding a little warmth to the dinner table as opposed to clean cut, pristine white plates. There was a candle, of course, and crayons to draw with on the huge paper-but-feels-silky table cloth. It is definitely a huge plus!

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Now, the important part of the evening. The food :)

Or should I say drinks? The whole evening, one of my main points of fascination was the stunning jug. Calling it a jug makes me want to hurl, it was so beautiful. So I will call it a pitcher. Not much better but it will do.

kazbah dining 17
A sprig of mint in each pitcher, the water was refreshing and the perfect temperature (not too hot, not too cold :D). The design of these pitchers is such that when you pour, it will never, ever spill. See for yourself (this is my clumsy brother pouring for me so I promise you, anyone can ;))

kazbah dining 7We would have bought one but they were unluckily out of stock. It is so on my shopping list!

My brother (good on him :P) and I stuck to water for the evening, but my parents indulged in the lovely cocktails they offered. They had gorgeous names like ‘Magic Carpet Ride’ and ‘Turkish Delight’ :D

Dad opted for the Lychee Martini. A mixture of vodka, lychee liqueur and lychee juice, it was sweet and slightly pungent but with a fabulous kick at the end. How do I know this? Because I took one sip (with permission!) :) – I also loved the little lychee lying at the bottom of the glass!

kazbah dining 6Mum, she went all out for the Strawberry Mint. This was a combination of strawberries, mint (no joke), strawberry liqueur and crushed lemonade. Definitely my favourite (oops ;)), it had a lovely aftertaste and obviously my mum enjoyed it so much, she even ate the mint leaves!

kazbah dining 9Now came the mezzes or appetizer, which I had the pleasure of choosing seeing as I had literally stalked the menu beforehand and looked up every single dish there was too ;)

We had four different ones to get a taste of each.

Firstly, the traditional Dips and Bread plate. We got maybe four or five different varieties of bread – toasted, grilled, fried, soft. It was all there. And with five beautifully presented dips. Without a doubt, everyone dug into the Babaganoush with gusto and the hummus, though my personal favourite was the Tzatziki which was very refreshing. There was also Carrot and Taramsalta (which contained fish).

kazbah dining 8kazbah dining 15
Then came the Fried Cauliflower. It was soft on the inside, but perfectly crunchy on the outside, lying on a bed of eggplant jam which was so delicious, it melted my insides and went perfectly with the vegetables.

Fried Cauliflower, Eggplant Jam, Pinenuts, Yoghurt Tahini Sauce ($15)

Fried Cauliflower, Eggplant Jam, Pinenuts, Yoghurt Tahini Sauce ($15)

Our second last entree was the Falafel Fritters plate. Cannot possibly go to a Turkish-Moroccan-Persian restaurant and not try this. Sacrilige ;)
Beautiful fried, with no hint of over-oiliness, these were exquisite, the hummus and lettuce with pickled onions acting as the perfect side.

Dukkah Falafel Fritters, Pickles, Almond Taratour ($15)

Dukkah Falafel Fritters, Pickles, Almond Taratour ($15)

Lastly, we ordered corn on cob gone gorgeous. It was char-grilled with their own exotic butter and rolled in Haloumi cheese pieces. The flavour just burst in every bite and I could actually eat it forever if I desired.

corn on 16Now the mains. Although not a ton of vegetarian variety, the dishes they had were more than enough. And perfect.

My mum, she ordered the Seven Vegetable Casablanca Tagine with a side of rice. It was so hot and steaming as the lid was removed, the sauciness overwhelming in a good way :). There was a side of chilli jams and pastes which even gave our Indian tastebuds a run for their money (a good sign!) and the slightly fried rice worked beautifully with the soft vegetables. *Sighs remembering it*

Seven Vegetable Casablanca Tagine Served with a choice of Carrot Steamed Couscous or Rice Pilaf ($31)

Seven Vegetable Casablanca Tagine Served with a choice of Carrot Steamed Couscous or Rice Pilaf ($31)

kazbah 24
My dish? Of course you want to know :D
I ordered the Mougrabieh of Roast Vegetables with Creamed Feta and Olive Tapenade. Oh. My. God. Not to get all Janice-like on you but one bite had me literally over the moon. The feta and tapenade (and this is with me, a hater of olives) was impeccable, giving a beautiful saltiness to the roasted vegetables. So creamy, so perfectly made and delicious. 11/10. No joke.
**Mougrabieh = A form of rolled semolina, similar to couscous but much larger

Moughrabieh of Roast Vegetables, Creamed Feta, Olive Tapenade ($32)

Moughrabieh of Roast Vegetables, Creamed Feta, Olive Tapenade ($32)

kazbah 22
Then came the Kebab-Men.
Dad ordered the Lemon Bharat Chicken which according to him, was moist, saucy and delicious. Yeah, he doesn’t say much in description but his face was ecstatic. It lay on a beautiful bed of pilaf and was drizzled with a Moroccan pesto and capsicum creme freche. Nice one :)

(Shish Kebab) Lemon Baharat Chicken, Mixed Nut Pilaf, Caraway Capsicum Crème Fraîche, Parsley Pesto Sauce ($34)

(Shish Kebab) Lemon Baharat Chicken, Mixed Nut Pilaf, Caraway Capsicum Crème Fraîche, Parsley Pesto Sauce ($34)

My brother ordered the Lamb Kafta kebabs, because according to him, you cannot go to a Turkish restaurant and have kebabs without lamb :P He claims that the meat was cooked perfectly, dry but tender the way he likes it. This was served on garlic crushed mashed potatoes *drools* and olive chackchouka, drizzled with hummus sauce.

kazbah 20Just looking at their dishes made me want to give up vegetarianism ;)
I loved how the waiter/ress actually took the pieces of the skewer for you – absolute and utter class!

kazbah 19
We also had a side to our main meals (yes, our family is crazy, what of it? :D), this being the Hand-Cut Kazbah chips. Soft, pillows of potato generously slathered in a slightly chili seasoning was the perfect side to every dish we had on the table :)

kazbah  21After our generous meal, we were so so full, we could not move for a couple of minutes. Then they came offering the dessert menu, we declined. I declined. Yes, I know. The world tipped upside down. But you know what? While watching the belly-dancing which happens every Saturdaya (so exotic, wish I could dance like that!), I figured I had to come back to Kazbah for dessert, a decision set in stone. For at least two desserts. Maybe three ;)

But you can’t get too mad at me. After all, we had a Velour Chocolate Cheesecake and Hazelnut Hot Chocolate from the famous Lindt Cafe. for afternoon tea… but that is a review for another day and age (but not life!) ;)

kazbah 3
kazbah  72
Also I left my mark for them to see if they desired (though it was probably trashed ;)) – no harm right? :D

kazbah 23
General Overview: Kazbah, Darling Harbour

  • Fantastic service – even though we were there early, it was easy to see the waiters were quick in bringing out meals and drinks, everything being more efficient – they were also very sociable which was cool
  • The serving size for every dish was wonderful – not overly huge but filling and allowed you to sample more than one item
  • True, it was expensive as a dinner but for a special occasion, it is truly the place to go

Rating: 9.5/10

Booking: Recommended

Address & Contact Details:

Website: http://www.kazbah.com.au/default.htm
Menu: http://www.kazbah.com.au/menus.htm

kazbah 81

Address:

The Promenade,
Harbourside Shopping Centre
Darling Harbour
NSW 2000

Number: 9555 7067

Kazbah Darling Harbour on Urbanspoon

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Inspired by this amazing dinner, I decided to try and make a Turkish specialty that my dad, my brother and I find unbeatable.
A gözleme, also known as a savoury handrolled pastry usually stuffed, sealed and pan fried :)

gozleme 21
Now, I had had this recipe sitting in my closet for 2 months eons and decided that enough was enough, perfect time to try it, so let’s do it. But looking closer at  the photo given with it, it was not a gözleme. Oh no, gözlemes are stuffed inside, then rolled out thinly before being drizzled in oil, cooked on a griddle and then chopped into triangles, squirted with lemon.

gozleme 19
And then I knew it. It was a pide, which is the Turkish equivalent of pita bread, but gone badboy with its delicious fillings and frying which mirrors a gözleme. No harm done though right? It was Turkish and inspiring so that is how I came to be making the wannabe gozleme ;)

gozleme 22
The recipe was gorgeous. A warm, delicious spinach and cheesy filling which came out of one very flaky and delicious pastry. It was a wonderful eat but there was one problem. The pastry was a little too flaky and soft so it easily broke and in cooking the pides, we actually used at least double the oil necessary because otherwise the bread would not cook well. No harm done of course ;), but if anyone has some tips on not making such a flaky pastry, I would love to hear it :D
That way this can be made and enjoyed and a more daily basis :)

gozleme 23
I have changed this recipe to suit the needs of hating mushrooms but if you want to include them, just read the italics :)
Enjoy!

gozleme 20
Gozleme Wannabe – Spinach & Feta Pide
Source: Good Food Magazine

Serves: 4 dinners or 8 appetisers (cut in half)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Self-Raising Flour (originally published as plain, which was a typo! Sorry about that!)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil + extra for frying
  • 1/4 tsp (generous) table salt
  • 2/3 cup full cream milk
  • 1 Spanish onion, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 250g mushrooms, sliced
  • 150g baby spinach, washed and drained
    gozleme 9
  • 100g Danish feta
  • 50g Tasty cheese, grated
  • Sesame seeds

Method

  1. Place flour, oil and salt in a large bowl
  2. Slowly stir in milk with a wooden spoon until a soft and sticky dough forms
    gozleme 7
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently till smooth
    gozleme 6
  4. Shape dough into a ball then divide into 4 equal portions
    gozleme 11
  5. Work each ball at a time, covering the others with a teatowel so they do not dry out
  6. Make the filling:
    - Heat 1 tbs oil in a saucepan over medium heat
    – Chop onion and garlic finely
      – Cook till translucent (2 minutes) then add mushrooms and cook for further 2-3 minutes to soften
     
    - Add in the spinach and cook for 1 minute until wilted
    gozleme 13
      – Transfer mixture to a colander to drain
    – In a separate large bowl, combine both cheeses, crumbling the feta
  7. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the first portion into a disk with 20cm diameter
    gozleme 15
  8. On half of the side, leaving an inch or 2 from around the edges, place one quarter of the spinach mixture and then top with cheese mixture
  9. Fold other half of dough over the top and crimp and seal the edges
  10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds
    gozleme 17
  11. Heat a frypan on medium low, adding in 1-2 tbs of oil generously
  12. Cook the pide, 1-2 minutes for a light colour or 2-3 for a darker colour on each side, pressing lightly before transferring to a plate with a paper towel
    gozleme 16
  13. Repeat with remaining three portions
  14. Squirt with a lemon wedge or two and dig in!

Notes

  • Here are the ingredients for a lamb pide for you meat lovers! Just replace all the filling ingredients with:

- Keep onion and garlic the same
– Add in 250g lamb mince and cook for 4-5 minutes or till browned (break all lumps)
– Add 1/2 cup canned tomato, pureed, 1 grated carrot (I am sure zucchini would work well too) and 1/2 tsp cumin to the mixture
Then just continue with the recipe as usual :)

Still no dessert? Well not really much but I remade a batch of my secret Choc Chip Uru Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe but with white chocolate chunks and macadamias – check out the pictures, these cookies are undoubtedly the best!

gozleme 24
gozleme 25
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Just before leaving, I just wanted to say thanks to Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella who recently made and posted about my 5 minute self saucing banana butterscotch microwave pudding. She has added her own twists so  check it out here :)

Also, a wonderful blogger friend of mine, Viveka @ My Guilty Pleasures made the 5 minute Overnight French Toast which was thrilling :)

gozleme 18
I love people making my recipes, it feels fantastic :)

A good note to say good night on my friends!

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99 Comments

  1. Pingback: CCU Undercover: Cake, Bake & Sweets Show Part #2

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  5. Seriiously the Spinach & Cheese Pide should be gracing my table right now, it looks so good. Yesterday the Mr. and I were discussing places we’d like to visit. Morroco has been high on my list for ages. I was also thinking of doing a Morrocan tablescape. Very timely indeed. Wonderful post.

  6. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Great review Uru! I only wish that I was tagging along with you… =) And I love Spinach & Feta combo – looks so good! Your post has lots of content and fun to read with a cup of tea. ;-)

  7. coachksr says:

    I’ve got to stop reading your wonderful posts so I can write my own reviews of Royal Taj, one of the many places we’ve eaten out on my vacation. I’m so-o groggy after consuming their scrumptious Indian food. Anyway, CCU, you are my idol. Great photos, great words, great foods.

    Keep writing…

    • You are the kindest my friend, I have told you on multiple occasions true but it never seems to lose meaning :D
      I would love to see you review some restaurants, especially an Indian one – YUM :)

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

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  9. Heather says:

    Wow Uru what an amazing dining experience – I too LOVED the different plates on the table and the water pitcher, so neat! The entire meal from start to finish looked first class, thanks for sharing this review – I love these posts!

  10. Brilliant Uru! I loved your review and you food snaps and the interior shots, you were definitely a busy girl! As for your wannabe gozleme I definitely have a soft spot for that too. you can never go wrong with spinach & cheese & the crispy dough crust looked so delicious :)

  11. Balvinder says:

    Middle eastern restaurants are always a wonderful place to visit. I like their decor and great food. The water jug in the picture is interesting.
    the cookies and the spinach feta pide looks delicious. Have a great day my friend!

  12. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the Gozleme Wannabe – Spinach & Feta Pide recipe.
    I’ll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :)
    If you don’t mind, can you submit your Gozleme Wannabe – Spinach & Feta Pide photo in http://www.foodporn.net ?
    It’s a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. submit by yourself and let me know when you did, so I can share it.

  13. Sammie says:

    WOWWWW!! All that food looks so delicious!! I’m so jealous!! haha.. last week I had a cheeseburger from A&W and I couldn’t imagine how $3 could make me so happy. lol. But THIS LOOKS FANTASTIC!!! And I love that Gozleme you made too! Though I’d have to say I’m gonna be adding mushrooms in mine.. hehe.. :D

  14. Zoe says:

    I have tried this gozeleme recipe too but disappointed with the outcome. My dough was difficult to roll out and the gozeleme pastry turned out to be thick for me :( Nevertheless, yours look really good :D

  15. hotlyspiced says:

    Great post Uru. And who doesn’t love a bit of Sting. The food at this restaurant looks very good but it seems quite expensive but I think that’s the way it goes in Darling Harbour. Love how you left your mark on the table runner! xx

  16. kitchenriffs says:

    Really nice review! Sounds like your whole family had a terrific time. But I have to recover from fainting – first you had no dessert, then you have us a savory recipe?!!! Are you feeling quite well? ;-) Good thing you finished with photos of cookies!

  17. Juliana says:

    Wow, what an awesome meal…it was sure nice for my eyes…since I could not taste them :)
    Thanks for sharing the recipes…they both look delicious!
    Hope you are having a nice week :)

  18. Next time I’m in Darling Harbour, I know where I’m going… the food looks so good. And I love your recipe gozleme… my mum makes something similar, but it’s a flat pankcake with spinach inside… I so need to get the recipe from her:)

  19. Oh Uru, that restaurant looks amazing. I’m loving the Morrocan theme and different plates too. All the meals look amazing. I bet the cremed feta was awesome. I love feta, and Tzatziki too.

    The writing on the tablecloth with the review made me chuckle. I wonder if they’ll be visiting here to check that out? Hehe.

  20. Ramona says:

    What a gorgeous meal!! I would eat all of the dish you all ordered!! Also.. look at you making that fantastic spinach pastry dish!! Way to go my friend. :)

  21. Tisa says:

    Great job, CCU undercover, once again revealing some great restaurant vibe, wine ( water for you) and dine. I love going through your prosed up reviews. And that enveloped goodness you made at the end, what was it- gosleme- I’ve never tried it, but as usual think I sense the need. My lazy self however pales in comparison to you , Ms. Superblogger and hopefully I get around to making some of your yumminess soooon. Wonderful read again, my friend.

  22. Swathi says:

    That restaurant guys should give you a special dinner for your and your family. You did a wonderful review. I love to make your secret white chocochip cookie.

  23. A_Boleyn says:

    It sounds like your family had a wonderful experience. I wish the lighting had been better to get more of a look at those dishes but I know you were limited by the natural light available and you did a splendid job under those conditions. The experience was worth every penny spent, I’m sure.

    After all that, I was ready for a break to digest, figuratively, but then you threw two recipes at us. My favourite was the spinach and cheese pide. I’ve heard the name somewhere but can’t recall exactly where. I’m going to take a closer look at the recipe and see what I can do for the future as I’ve never cooked a Turkish/middle eastern menu and would like to do a proper one.

    Looking forward to your future restaurant reviews.

    • Thank you my friend, we most certainly did – I am glad you understand my situation :)
      I hope you try it out my friend, it is a wonder I have not made and eaten this before, it was absolutely gorgeous!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  24. LinsFood says:

    Another winning discovery! Love the gozleme and LOVE your chocolate chip cookies – that’s what I put in my blondies – white chocolate and macadamia nuts! Great minds and all that! Love the pitcher, btw, it’s called a porron, it’s Spanish and is used for sharing wine in a group!

  25. Suzie says:

    Love your restaurant reviews. Once again I’ll go with your Dad’s or brother’s dish, yum! I’ll take your Mum’s drink though :) I wouldn’t have been able to look at dessert after all that food! The gozeleme wannabe looks delicious.

  26. Suzi says:

    What a great restaurant review and delicious foods. That spinach and pide has my name on it. I am going to be making this, stuffed spinach anything is one of my favorite treats. I call savory treats, LOL. Wonderful recipe my friend.

  27. What a great restaurant review! I swear, I am just going to follow you around and eat one day.

    I’ve never heard of gözleme before, but it looks fabulous. You know I love all that spinach!

  28. What great writing at the beginning of this post…I was enthralled to see where your story lead! And what a fantastic restaurant it did lead to…all of that amazing food is right up my alley…if I just lived in Australia…sigh. But we do have a new Persian restaurant close by and now I must go check it out. Cheers!

  29. Kristy says:

    I was hoping for another CCU undercover soon. :) I would love to eat dinner here. Everything looks fantastically mouth-wateringly good. :)

  30. eliotthecat says:

    Perfect post! Great music, great capture, great review, and great recipes! I agree on that cool looking carafe/jug/pitcher! I have pinned it I want one so bad. And although the entire meal looks fantastic, I am going to search for or create a recipe for that cauliflower and corn!

  31. Medeja says:

    From the picture I can only tell that I like furniture, food looks ok.. :D
    And I think I have missed your secret cookies.. so I am going to check them out now!

  32. What an amazing dinner out! I have never been disappointed by a Middle Eastern restaurant- there are just the most amazing flavours in there!

    Such a nice dish you made your dad too. And those cookies, YUM!

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