Capadocia Kebab, Anspachlaan 42, Brussels

Hello again, Döner Fans. Recently I was visited by friends from everyone’s favourite soon-to-be-former EU Member State, the UK. I do still maintain some contact with the motherland, tenuous though it may be. In any case, one does not simply visit Dr Döner without going for a kebab. And as such, following an evening of drinks and risqué badinage at a well-known Brussels beer bar, it fell to me to slake the meaty lusts of my visitors upon the greasy altar of vertical meat bi-product rotisserie. I give you: Capadocia Kebab!

Capadocia Kebab beckons you in with two strange and ghostly children.

On entering, I launched forth a cheery ‘iyi akşamlar’. It was not cheerily received. The orange-clad meat-warriors behind the counter did not seem enthused by our custom. Taking this snubbing of my Turkish on the chin, I ordered a dürüm for the higher-than-usual price of 5 Euros.

The orange-clad meat-warriors of Capadocia carve their livelihood from glistening cliffs of meat.

We colonised a group of tables and the food was brought to us. Pleasingly the meat-to-salad ratio in my dürüm was high, and the glistening brown matter worked well with the sauces and salad to satisfy my aching beer-fuelled hunger. It was one of the meatiest kebabs I’ve had in a while. Perhaps it was a little over-priced at 5 Euros, but then we were eating slap-bang in the centre of Brussels, and not in some quiet corner of Saint-Josse.

Capadocia's abundance of meat, and some tomatoes of various pleasing shapes.

While the staff at Capadocia showed little interest in our table, one of the orange-clad gents did spend a lot of time trying to chat up a nearby table of girls. I didn’t catch the specifics of the conversation, though I think he might have been trying to tell them about his motorbike. He was robustly unperturbed by the girls’ clear lack of interest. Indeed, being female appears to work to one’s advantage in Capadocia, as one of the ladies in our group managed to wangle a free can of Jupiler out of the serving staff, for reasons which were never quite made clear.

The meaty interior of my kebab, with the free can of Jupiler in the background.

All in all it was a solid, if not outstanding, performance from Capadocia Kebab. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it again, but nor would I be disappointed if I ended up back in its orange clutches in the future. So if you are cruising down Anspach Boulevard late one night, do pop in and sample the cuisine. And see if you can get a free can of lager out of the staff as well.

So long, Capadocia. May your neon lights forever glimmer on these murky Belgian streets.


Service: 2/5 (very masculine)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (meh)

Price: 2/5 (5 Euros for a dürüm? Ich bitte Sie.)

Taste: 3/5 (exquisitely meaty, if that is what you like)

Photography by Dr. Döner

Snack Istanbul – Willemsstraat, Brussels

Hello Döner Fans. Yes it is confusing, I know – I have already reviewed a Snack Istanbul in Brussels. Imagine my surprise and delight when I found that there are two of them!

Who is this second pretender to the Snack Istanbul throne?

I don’t know if they are part of a chain. They are located barely 5 minutes apart from each other, so if they are not related then I wouldn’t be surprised if there is an intense rivalry going on. Perhaps it is for this reason that neither can be found on Google Maps. Perhaps there is a court case on-going.

It was last Thursday when I first chose to grace Snack Istanbul with my custom. There had been drinks at Place du Luxembourg (where one must go drinking on a Thursday night if one is to become a success) and in the aftermath of our libations a companion and I went off in search of sweaty meat. And we found it!

As I live in the district of Saint-Josse, I have felt it necessary to scan all available kebab shops in the area. I had clocked this second Snack Istanbul days before, and once I was certain that I wasn’t tripping, I vowed to visit it with alacrity. What better chance than in a post-drinking lust for döner?

And so, in the wet, dark Brussels night, we wove our way past the concrete and glass monoliths of the European Quarter, then on into the ramshackle sprawl of Saint-Josse. And before long, there! We espied the tell-tale neon glow that betrayed the presence of a kebab shop. Döner heaven was surely mere footsteps away!

The awesome interior of Snack Istanbul.

We entered. The shop was run by two jolly, grizzled men. Their counter was overflowing with fresh salad, even at this time of night, and it brimmed with other Turkish treats that I yearned to try. But no, every place must be judged by the same standards! And so I ordered a dürüm menu for 6 Euros. In the back of my mind was the thought that at Turkuaz the same meal would have been a Euro cheaper.

Just some of the veg on offer at Snack Istanbul. Try to ignore the red cabbage.

I can’t comment much on the intervening time between ordering and eating, because nothing really happened. I took what I thought were rather artsy shots of the interior of the kebab shop, which on later viewing turned out to be rubbish. There was a decent crowd eating at Snack Istanbul, though, which is always a good sign.

An artsy shot that made the cut. It's a window, but from the INside.

We took our dürüms back home and ate them there, surrounded by home comforts. And I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. After a disappointing experience at Brussels’ other Snack Istanbul, my hopes had not been high. But the kebab was actually very good. It was meaty, it was moist, it had good texture, and the sauces married it all together delightfully. It will be a welcome alternative if ever I find that Turkuaz has closed early. Well done, Snack Istanbul! I hope you win in your dispute with those charlatans on Leuvensesteenweg!

The kebab is consumed back in the Dr Döner man-cave, surrounded by detritus.


Service: 4/5 (jolly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (cosy)

Price: 3/5 (a Euro more expensive than Turkuaz)

Taste: 3/5 (quite nice)

Photography by Dr. Döner

My Favourite Spam Part III

Hello again, Döner Fans. Due to the rabbit-like proliferation of spam out here on the internet, ‘My Favourite Spam’ is turning into something of a regular feature on the Dr Döner site. Indeed, barely had I posted My Favourite Spam Part II, when my spam filter was once again bespattered in a renewed coating of unwanted and embarrassing dross.

It is not all bad news, however. One must take one’s entertainment where one finds it. And so, apropos of nothing at all, I leave you to the tender mercies of ‘hummingbird anatomy tongue’ and her fellow inmates at the spam asylum:


hummingbird anatomy tongue: “The nectar solution can be achieved in the home, employing a ratio of four parts water to a single part white cane sugar. All you must do is to finalize your bird tattoo design and make an appointment using your tattoo artist. Many people recommend creating a hummingbird tattoo for the shoulder mainly because it would look much like the bird is perching on you.”

Hm. You’re right. Now that I think about it, that is precisely what it would much look like!

"Hey, nice parrot tattoo."


weight loss tips and motivational sayings: “This might be enough to help you fit comfortably in your clothes. There is not any replacement for water, so do not think you can drink soda instead. A great way to start paying more attention to your diet regime is usually to start keeping a regular food diary.”

Does the Dr Döner blog count as a regular food diary?


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I wondered why it hurt when I sat down!


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I think there might be part of the story missing here.


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Don’t worry, ‘friv online’. Nobody’s first time is perfect.


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Harsh. It would be easy to laugh this off, but it certainly puts my life’s work into perspective.


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Insert my data? We hardly know each other.


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Not until you tell me what a zynga group is.


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Thanks Liza. Your father is a man of taste.


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Oh my. Did he mean ‘contact’ instead of ‘touch’? Let’s hope so.


That’s all for now, Döner Fans!

Dr D.

Sultans of Kebap – Anspachlaan, Brussels

What’s in a name? Over the years I have seen kebab houses bearing names with varying degrees of creativity. ‘Mustafa’s Gemüsekebab’ or ‘Kaplan Döner’ are both clear enough. ‘Mısır çarşısı’ is more evocative of distant places and exotic flavours. ‘Snackwagen’ boasts an instant cool. ‘Lunchroom Etenstijd’ on the other hand is about as crap as you can get. (‘Lunch room Food time’, I mean really…)

The proprietors of one particular döner establishment on Anspachlaan in Brussels city centre clearly wanted something more. They knew that their greasy corner of the döner market was bigger, better, grander than most. They needed a name to convey the pomp, the majesty of their premises. A name that would elevate them head and shoulders above the mere impostors of the kebab industry, and mark them out as the true masters of the meat-log rotisserie. And, I’m sure you will agree, they found just the right one. Mesdames et messieurs, I give you the sublime, the magnificent Sultans of Kebap!

Sultans of Kebab seem to have awarded themselves a generous five stars.

To be honest, last Friday night, I didn’t even want a kebab. A companion and I were making our way home from a party. Neither of us was particularly hungry. But then across the street I saw that big red sign, bearing those three immortal words: ‘Sultans of Kebab’. Such a grand name leaves a lot to live up to. What palatial treats awaited us within? And I knew right there and then that I had to find out.

Members of the men-only Meat-Lovers Anonymous attend a late-night board meeting at the Sultans' residence.

My expectations were raised high when I entered and saw not one, but TWO glistening logs of meat rotating like music-box ballerinas against the grill. When I heard the staff talking to each other in Turkish, I imagined that I was onto a winner. There were four of them, burly and uniformed behind the counter, ready to take our order. However, it soon became clear that the old adage remains true: too many chefs do spoil the broth. The four men spent most of their time arguing, bumping into each other, and getting in each other’s way. The overall impression was not one of well-oiled efficiency. As a final straw, I saw that their salad options included a huge trough of red cabbage, which as we all know has no place in a decent kebab.

Because what doesn't look more appetising with blobs of shredded carrot dumped all over it?

Nonetheless, it was too late to turn back. Somehow the four of them conspired to make me a dürüm, which was then handed over. My dinner companion bought a portion of chicken nuggets, just to embarrass me. Things were about to get rowdy when one of the chefs realised I was photographing the interior of the palace. “Il prend des photos!” the cry went up. And it could have been the worse for Dr Döner, had the four of them not been unable to navigate their way out from behind the confines of the counter.

One of the four kebab-men of the apocalypse shaves another hunk of flab from the rotisserie of existence.

We ate our gains out on the street while walking home. Central Brussels is a strange place at 1:30am. It is mostly full of groups of drunken men roving the streets. It was not the most comfortable experience, especially since I was trying to stuff a dürüm into my face. The night was also bitterly cold. Which is why, I imagine, the staff at Sultans of Kebab had wrapped my dürüm up extra warmly. Whereas most kebab establishments will simply wrap their wares in paper, the four Sultans had gone the extra mile. My dürüm was draped in a two-tone cape of both paper and tinfoil, keeping it hot on the inside and cool enough to hold on the outside. Imagine! It still didn’t make up for the decidedly average nature of the kebab, though. I guzzled down the dürüm as fast as I could, for it was impeding my homeward journey. And then, with its remnant sauces strewn down the insides of some municipal bin, I set off through the testosterone-charged streets back to St-Josse. An eventful night, but an unremarkable kebab. Until next time, Döner Fans!

The caped crusader. A baton of meat, alone in the night.


Service: 2/5 (resistant to being photographed)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (testosterone-charged)

Price: 3/5 (I don’t remember, but average)

Taste: 3/5 (meh)

Photography by Dr. Döner

My Favourite Spam Part II

Hello, Döner Fans. If you enjoyed my earlier post, titled My Favourite Spam, then here is some more of exactly the same. Once again I have pushed my hand into the clammy confines of the spam filter and clawed out a handful of bizarre messages which somehow found their way to the Dr Döner website.

Some of them make sense, some of them don’t. As the writer Kahlil Gibran once observed, ‘our words are just crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind’. When I look at these spam messages, I imagine that the feast of the mind that spawned them was composed mostly of offal, bin refuse, and LSD. See if you can tease any meaning from the messages below, and feel free to send in your suggestions. (I promise they won’t just end up in the spam filter.) Enjoy another helping of my spam, Döner Fans!

What the world presumably looks like to writers of spam.


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You came here by searching for jerseys did you, Mr ‘false email address’?


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I made my choice when I started a blog about kebabs, and I will live with the flabby consequences on my own terms.


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No worries ‘Katrina’, my blog gets mistaken for a shower enclosure shop all the time.


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I guess ‘Katrina’ told her friends too.


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Kind of you, Earnest. I always find those questions so awkward when strangers ask them.


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You’re right, ‘sex prostitutes’, describing kebabs is quite a complicated matter. I will try to make my next post less indecipherable.


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Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought most life-forms needed continuous access to water? Did you write this message because you are feeding kebabs to your cat?


Jacques Poellinetz: “Hi there, You can exit your job right now. Click the link here to learn how. Have a Good day”

Presumably I can exit my job right now when I am fired for clicking on this suspicious link?


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Oh I’ve done more than that, Rob Liefeld. I’ve published it for all to enjoy. No need to thank me!


That’s it again for now, Döner Fans. Inevitably, it does seem like there will be more again very soon. Cheers!

Dr. D

Snack Istanbul Leuvensesteenweg

Hello, Döner Fans. This time we are back in Brussels. Let me lay the scene. It was this Monday past, and I went looking for a kebab. It was a cold, wet day, like so many days here in Brussels, and my initial plan was to go to Turkuaz. Ah, Turkuaz! That oasis of meaty joy in a barren urban desert! I have been to Turkuaz more times than it is polite to mention. But as this blog is always craving for newer, fresher reviews, I thought I ought to try somewhere else.

There is a place not far from Turkuaz, close to Madou metro station, which I had passed several times before. In fact, I had eaten there once a few weeks ago at about 5am… but the less I say about that the better. (They had run out of kebab meat so they chopped up a strange, gristly burger and shoved it in some bread and called it a ‘Burger Dürüm’.) Anyway, I thought it was time to give the place a proper try. And so that night I approached its humble neon premises. Without further distraction, I give you: Snack Istanbul!

Snack Istanbul can be found in a prime location behind a Shanks refuse bin.

Snack Istanbul is located on Chaussée de Louvain (or Leuvensesteenweg) and is so exclusive that it doesn’t even show up on Google Maps. It has a big neon sign protruding onto the street so you don’t miss it, though. I went in around 8pm with an open mind. It was empty, apart from a man behind the counter who looked surprised to see me, as if he had not expected to serve any food tonight. I was tempted by the Dürüm Menu (dürüm, chips and a drink) which you can get at Turkuaz for 5 Euros, but at Snack Istanbul this costs 7 Euros. So I ordered a döner instead.

Peace reigns at Snack Istanbul. This is the place to come if you are in search of tranquillity.

The order went smoothly, apart from one small linguistic slip-up. When it came to sauces I once again forgot the French word for garlic, and so I just said ‘garlic’. But, embarrassed by this, I asked him ‘Comment est-ce qu’on dit garlic en français’, and he gladly told me. There is no end to one’s learning, Döner Fans! But, for the life of me, I no longer remember what the word was.

What does Snack Istanbul have under the counter? Some fake cheese, pickled peppers, various types of dodgy meat. All the classics.

My döner was duly slapped together and I took an ayran from the fridge. As I watched him making the kebab I surreptitiously took photos of his shop, while Sash’s Ecuador played in the background. When the food was handed over, I asked how much it was. The man gave me a sidelong look and appeared to be calculating it in his head. I had the uncomfortable feeling that he was calculating how many cents he could screw me out of. ‘Cinq euro,’ he announced. I didn’t argue. But at Turkuaz I would have got chips as well for that price.

Some non-descript meat peeks out from some non-descript bread.

I took the kebab home and ate it. It was very average. The meat seemed a bit dry and non-descript (it might have been chicken) and the sauce was a bit gluggy. The bread tasted a bit burnt from the grill. All in all, it was not a particularly decent kebab. I washed it down with my ayran, licked my delicate and well-formed fingers, and decided that no, I would not be rushing back to Snack Istanbul anytime soon. I don’t see why anyone would go there when the culinary delights of Turkuaz are a five minute walk away, and available at lower prices. Therefore my advice is: take the extra five minutes to get to Turkuaz, as you will not find kebab-joy at Snack Istanbul. Disagree? Write a comment. That’s all for now, Döner Fans!

The real connoisseur eats no other kind of ass.


Service: 3/5 (good for linguistic tips)

Atmosphere: 2/5 (barren)

Price: 2/5 (seemed like more than it should have been)

Taste: 2/5 (very plain)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

Ali Ocakbaşı Herengracht

Welcome back, Döner Fans. And welcome to the sixtieth post on the Dr Döner blog! Sixty posts in four years might not sound like a lot. But rest assured I have had far more than sixty kebabs in that time. (Often I bought them from places that I had already reviewed.)

And so, in honour of this small milestone, I thought I’d review one of the best ever Turkish restaurants that I have been to. Yes, you read correctly. This is a true giant of Turkish cuisine, a palace of mouth-watering meats and spices, with warm and welcoming staff and a beautiful, traditional interior. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been there. (It was certainly often enough for them to start recognising me – always a danger in the food-review business.) And so without further ado, I give you Amsterdam’s very own: Ali Ocakbaşı!

First of all, the word ‘ocakbaşı’ [o-jack-bash-eugh] is a Turkish word which literally means ‘top of the oven’. This refers to a traditional type of restaurant which specialises in meals that are grilled on open fiery coals. (I can feel myself beginning to salivate even as I type.) Amsterdam’s Ali Ocakbaşı is located on the corner of Herengracht and Utrechtsestraat, not far from Rembrandt Square, and is based on the original Ali restaurant in Istanbul.

A Turkish friend recommended Ali Ocakbaşı to me, and I am eternally grateful that he did. On stepping off the street, diners are greeted to a hearty ‘Hoş geldiniz!’ [hosh gel-din-iz] (welcome) by the cheerful staff. You can sit downstairs (where the service is usually at its heartiest) or in the upstairs gallery which offers a view over the canal and the street. (If you sit on the side facing Utrechtsestraat you can even have a glimpse into the ‘coffee shop’ opposite, from which I have seen one or two former colleagues sheepishly emerging.) In terms of drinks, it is traditional to have a crisp glass of Turkish Efes Pilsner, but a nice glass of red wine will also go well with the succulent meat dishes that you will soon be enjoying.

The entrance to Ali on the corner of Herengracht

One thing that I always have with my meal is a glass of rakı. This is the famed aniseed-flavoured drink known sometimes as ‘lion’s milk’, and it is served in a narrow tumbler with optional ice and water. Personally I like to fill up the tumbler with ice and add only a dash of water to make the raki turn cloudy, while maintaining the thick, milky flavour of this potent Turkish tipple. But be warned, Döner Fans: two or three of these cheeky little snifters and you will be well on your way!

Raki: fresh from the lion's teat

Starters are served from a traditional meze platter. There is a large array of choice, but I would personally recommend the çiğköfte [chee-keuhf-tay]. This consists of delicate patties of ground meat and spices, served with salad leaves and fresh lemon. The staff may try to tell you that the meat is raw. But don’t worry, I’ve always been fine afterwards. In any case, no doubt the raki kills off anything untoward. Your meze is served together with a complimentary basket of hot and freshly-baked Turkish puffy bread, which needless to say is also delicious.

Meze, Efes and raki. The makings of a good evening.

One peculiarity at Ali’s is that you are usually asked for your main course order only after you have finished your meze. However, the service is quick and usually you will not have to wait long. I can recommend three main course dishes that I have found to be of particular excellence.

  • The first is the kuzu şiş: this consists of succulent pieces of cubed lamb which are literally oozing with juices. These generous chunks simply melt in the mouth.
  • The second is the ali nazik: this consists of minced kebab and spices served on a bed of creamed aubergine. This was my regular Friday night treat back when I was living in Istanbul, and is a true meaty, creamy delight.
  • The third is the ali fıstıklı: this is ground meat and spices laced with shards of pistachio, which add an extra note of refinement to this kebab’s already tantalising set of flavours.

The kuzu şiş in the foreground, and the ali nazik in the background.

All these main meals are served with Turkish flat bread, a portion of Turkish bulgur, a minty rocket salad, and a grilled tomato and green pepper. All this is served on a spacious wooden board to accommodate this vast smorgasbord of culinary delights.

When I first started going to Ali, I found the portion sizes too large to finish. But with practice, this no longer became a problem. Copious servings of Efes and raki tend to help. The décor in the interior is rustic chic, and combines a home-cooking feel with stylish Turkish panache. But to be honest, the food is so good that they could serve it to me from a bucket in a shed and I would still recommend it.

A close-up of the ali mixed grill.

Be friendly to the staff. Attempt a few words in Turkish with them, if you can. I have been rewarded with free raki, Turkish tea, and coffee simply for throwing in the occasional phrase in Turkish. On one memorable occasion the mood was so jolly that we received a free serving of baklava on the house.

Complimentary baklava and Turkish coffee. This was a good day.

At the end of your meal, the only downside may be the bill. Yes, Ali Ocakbasi tends towards the expensive side. For a main meal you are looking at 22 or 23 Euros. However, it is Dr Döner’s editorial opinion that the price is worth it. I am yet to have a better Turkish meal than the fare that is served in Ali’s.

The price list. Just close your eyes and think of the meat.

The prime location of the restaurant also means that you are only a very short walk either from Rembrandt Square and the city centre, or the many traditional Dutch bars that are to be found along Utrechtsestraat (if the raki has not rendered you too legless). Ali Ocakbasi is somewhere I will be returning to. Give it a try if you’re ever in Amsterdam, Döner Fans! You won’t regret it.


Service: 5/5 (warm and friendly)

Atmosphere: 5/5 (stylish but homey)

Price: 4/5 (pricey but well worth it)

Taste: 5/5 (maaşallah!)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

My Favourite Spam

Hello Döner Fans. When your blog becomes as popular as this one (by which I mean not very popular at all) it begins to attract an increasing volume of spam. Thankfully, there are copious anti-spam plug-ins out there, which are capable of fencing you off from the vast majority of these unwelcome outbursts of embarrassment, vulgarity, and oddness. The Dr Döner spam filter currently contains about 3,800 spam messages.

A tin of spam. I wouldn't climb over a nice kebab for it.

Spam is like red cabbage in your döner. There is always more of it than you would like. But what to do with it all?

I have always striven to turn problems into opportunities, Döner Fans. And so, after a brisk trawl through some of my most recent spam, I found the following nuggets for you, as a flavour of the vast amount of junk that floats around out there on the internet.

As you will see, the world of spam is populated by people flogging dodgy links, selling fake fashion replicas, and marketing Viagra. It is a glimpse into a bizarre, mercenary, and sexually-charged world. Here, for your perusal, is a selection of some of my spam. Enjoy, Döner Fans!


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Thank you, ‘replica watches’. And I’ll be sure to put you on the list for a complimentary copy of my first novel.


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This spam was factual and interesting. Doesn’t have much to do with kebabs though.


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I’m sure you had to tell someone. But that someone was not me.


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Clearly ‘time tregg sees’ (if that is his real name) is not a kebab fan. Probably only eats shawarma.


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Not sure why this is spam, really. Sounds like legitimate praise to me.


domains za: “Actually no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of afterward its up to other people that they will help, so here it occurs.”

Cryptic… very cryptic. I will spend hours tonight trying to prise pearls of meaning from this linguistic clam. All suggestions are welcome, Döner Fans.


telewizja online za darmo w uk: ”It’s impressive that you are getting thoughts from this paragraph as well as from our dialogue made at this place.”

I’m afraid I have no recollection of that dialogue, sadly. Which is a shame, because it sounds as if we would really have got on.


otc male enhancement: ”I quickly stood up and attempted to push the balls out with my vagina. Feel free to visit my blog”

Whoa there! This sounds like an excerpt from a challenging piece of contemporary performance art.  Wasn’t Equus deemed controversial when it first came out, after all? As for visiting the blog, though…nah.


Well that’s all for now, Döner Fans. But no doubt there will be more soon. In the meantime I’m off to see if I can figure out what ‘domains za’ was trying to tell me. Wish me luck…

Au revoir!

Istanbul Plaza Halvemaansteeg

Bonjour, Döner Fans. Confusing as it seems, this blog post is brought to you from Amsterdam, not Brussels. Yes, last weekend I was back in the Dutch capital for both business and pleasure. I met some of my favourite people (plus a few extra), though the brevity of my trip meant that many old friends had to be left out. But I will be back again soon!

Anyway, a triumphal return without a kebab is like a morning without a dawn: barren. Many of you will know how I feel about Dutch kebabs. But on Saturday night on Rembrandt Square I was in for a pleasant surprise. A companion and I were squeezing our way through the heaving crowd of stoned tourists and drunk people in Halloween costumes, when my eyes were drawn to a gleaming sign. It said, in tasteful neon: “Istanbul Döner-Kebab Halal Food Shoarma-Falafel.” So all its focus-keywords were nicely covered.

The staff at Istanbul Plaza clearly let an SEO agency do their marketing.

Hypnotised by this feat of food-Tourette’s, I shakily drew forth my photography device and took a shot. And as I did so, a man who was leaning outside the shop immediately invited us in, his face aglow with welcoming delight. I had thought he was a customer happily digesting his food. But no, he was the welcome committee. I am always suspicious of shops and restaurants that employ someone to lure in passers-by. But we were hungry, so we went in anyway.

Under the neon glare, the craftsmen of Istanbul Plaza create their art.

The staff were clearly used to drunk tourists, and immediately tried to offer us everything on the menu, including a ‘crisp clean Heineken’ each. But I have tried Heineken before, so I said no. My dinner companion and I both ordered the Dürüm Döner, and they set about making it. As this was Amsterdam, there were only two sauce choices: samba and garlic. Salad was ‘alles erop’. There was something comforting in this bland predictability. If nothing else, it saved me having to order in French and embarrass myself.

A peek into the eye of the breaded sheath. With a manicured hand in the background.

The kebab was actually surprisingly good. I don’t know if it was just because I was very hungry, but something about it made it a lot tastier than the usual disappointing fare you tend to get in Amsterdam’s kebab joints. The meat was moist, the salad was fresh, the bread was nice, and the sauces were flavourful. As such, it is one of the few döner shops in Amsterdam that I can heartily recommend. Just try not to be talked into buying everything on the menu along with copious drinks, as the service did come across as slightly pushy.

I am pretty sure that the dürüm was meant to cost 4,95 EUR. However, when I handed over a 5 EUR note, there was no sign of my 5 cents change. I let it slide this time. I wished the proprietors ‘iyi akşamlar’ and we went back out into the Halloween-infested night. They called out ‘iyi akşamlar’ after us, despite probably not being Turks. But that is no doubt part of the mystery and delight at Istanbul Plaza.

The 4,95 EUR price on the menu is approximate.


Service: 2/5 (geared towards people who are drunk and/or stoned)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (meh)

Price: 3/5 (normal for Amsterdam, but don’t expect to get your 5 cents change)

Taste: 4/5 (very tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner

Turkuaz Kebap – Rue des Deux Églises

Bonjour et bienvenue, Döner Fans. Why the French? Well, Dr Döner has relocated to Brussels! (Or Brussel or Bruxelles, depending on which Belgian community you belong to…) Life is nothing without its variety; change is what adds spice to the floury lahmacun of existence. And so, in pursuit of new meaty horizons, Dr Döner has left the picturesque environs of Amsterdam and settled down in the Brussels neighbourhood of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, a mere drop-kick away from the European Institutions. And from this enviable vantage point I will be continuing my quest to force kebab policy up the agenda of the European Commission.

I have now been living here for almost two weeks, and the kebab-count is already high, Döner Fans. On moving to a new area, I find it advisable to go on a quick reconnoitre of the neighbourhood, to find out where the best kebabs are placed. So it was that while strolling down the Rue des Deux Églises, in the direction of Place Saint-Josse, I clocked a likely-looking establishment not far from the square. Döner Fans, I give you the great, the exceptional Turkuaz Kebap!

Turkuaz Kebap viewed from Tweekerkenstraat. Because all streets in Brussels have two names.

I was eager to pop my Brussels kebab cherry as early as possible. I had no wish to be asked “have you had a kebab in Brussels yet?” only to shake my head, blush, and say “no, not yet, I’m still working on it”. The social pressure to do so can be immense. It didn’t take long, though, before a night of fulsome Belgian beer led to that familiar kindling of the urges, and on walking home that evening I decided that yes, now was the time. Fleeing the cold, nocturnal Belgian streets, I strolled into Turkuaz, and was delighted to see a proper charcoal grill, a glistening meaty log of döner-rotisserie, and a display counter laden with köfte and other treasures. Affecting my best French, I ordered ‘un dürüm, s’il vous plait’, grabbed an ayran from the fridge, and settled down to wait.

Heavy breathing and pawing at the glass display table is normal.

The dürüm bread was first placed in the charcoal oven by one of the uniformed aficionados who manned the counter. One of them asked me which sauces I would like. I stumbled. My French no longer extended that far. I had been rumbled. Panicked, I said: ‘Chilli et…sarımsak!’ It was the Turkish word for garlic that fell out, and blew my cover. The uncertainty of my new surroundings had poked a hard finger through the wet tissue of my French, and connected with the solid bedrock of my faithful Turkish there below. From this point on, the Turkish staff of Turkuaz and I were firm friends. When it came to salad, I duly ordered ‘hepsi!’ And all seemed to be going swimmingly.

One word of warning, though. If you do visit Turkuaz and happen to go off in search of the lavatories, be warned that the ceiling on the staircase is very low. Dr Döner is no lumbering giant of a man (indeed, in Amsterdam I felt very much like a dwarf), but I managed to smack my head off the ceiling on the way down to the loos. Perhaps it was the Belgian beers. In any case, lesson learned. When I returned to the counter, my order was ready. I found also that the dürüm automatically came with a portion of Belgian frites covered in sauce. The novelty! I was also pleased to discover that in total one dürüm + one portion of frites + one ayran came to only 5 Euros. A bargain if ever I saw one, Döner Fans. Especially when you consider that one sad, soggy, disappointing döner in Amsterdam, whose sauces you have to apply yourself using one of their farting, sticky tubes, comes to 4,50 EUR all on its own. I took my meaty gains back to my penthouse apartment and consumed them there with gusto. And the verdict: delicious. The bread was fresh and had a tasty charcoal piquance, the meat was moist, and the sauces were flavourful. The salad consisted of shredded carrot, and something which was either shredded white cabbage or lettuce, which is not something I have seen before in a dürüm. In any case, it was very moist and added a satisfying counterpoint to the meat. Therefore, if you are ever in Saint-Josse, I urge you to try out Turkuaz Kebap. I am sure it will become a regular of mine!

Turkuaz kebab, with its garnish of shredded carrots and other mystery vegetables.


Service: 4/5 (fast and friendly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (bright and comfy)

Price: 4/5 (a good value deal!)

Taste: 5/5 (very nice)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner