Kebab Huis Baran – Hoofddorpplein

This post is originally from October 2015, and is being posted for the first time today.

Hello again Döner Fans. Are things finally starting to look up? I don’t want to speak too soon, but it seems like they just might be. On a dark, autumnal evening this week I went to pick up the keys to my new abode – a glamorous apartment in the Zuid area – meaning that my sentence in purgatory at Amsterdam’s most affordable hotel might soon be over. Dr Döner is homeless no more! And yet, as if that were not good news enough, the trek back from the new apartment to the hotel was fortuitously punctuated by a delicious culinary detour. Alighting from the number 15 bus at Hoofddorpplein, I espied the glowing sign of Kebab Huis Baran. There were several people waiting inside – surely a good sign? I barged in and, on seeing that the place seemed to specialise in lahmacun, I ordered a lahmacun with Döner meat and salad.

Kebab Huis Baran: Exterior Shot

While waiting, I noticed that the menu boasted a number of rather questionable options. What, I ask you, is the justification for a dürüm with tuna and cheese? It certainly is not a dish I have ever seen served in the kebab houses of Istanbul. I started to wonder if I had made a wise choice in visiting this place. Happily though, the döner meat was in fact on display and looked fairly fresh as it stood erect in front of its heating plate. A quick glance showed that they served only chicken in this establishment. Only one young, burly man was working behind the counter, and he was jolly and efficient as he chatted to the customers, serving up huge portions of kapsalon to the people waiting in front of me. He had a hairy beard and a pony tail and gave off an air of good-naturedness. He cheerfully exchanged pleasantries with one customer in Turkish.

Dürüm with tuna and cheese? Surely a typo!

When it came to my turn to be served, we bantered in Dutch as he asked me which toppings I wanted. At least, I think we bantered. My Dutch is still rusty, so I did not really know what he was saying. But it was all cheery enough. He handed over the lahmacun, and then – I don’t quite know why, perhaps it was the good mood I was in – I also bought an Ayran just for the sheer thrill of it. I almost never drink Ayran. But today I fancied it. Altogether, the lahmacun and the drink cost 5,50 Euros. He offered me a separate carrier bag for the Ayran. I declined. Then I hurried off to my hotel to devour it all.

Life need not be depressing at the West Side Inn. No! You can bring in food from outside.

I don’t know quite what he did to it – I didn’t see all the toppings, as I was surreptitiously trying to photograph the menu at the time – but I have to say, and I do not say this lightly, that the kebab was absolutely scrumptious. It tingled on the tongue. The lahmacun was a delightful mix of soft and oven-fired crunchy, and the meat, sauces and salad were all moist, juicy and full of flavour. I was quite surprised at just how good it all was. Even the Ayran was delicious and helped to wash it all down in an authentic fashion. The upshot of this is that I would thoroughly recommend Kebab Huis Baran to anyone lurking in the vicinity of Hoofddorpplein. It is well worth a visit. So, as I lick the sauces off my fingers, I shall sign off and wish you a good week! Until we meet again, Döner Fans, take care!

Results

Service: 5/5 (nice and jolly)

Atmosphere: 4/5 (welcoming)

Price: 3/5 (fine)

Taste: 5/5 (delicious!)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner

Efem Delflandplein

The following is a post from October 2015 which, alas, I have only now got around to posting.

Greetings Döner Fans. If you’ve ever been to Delflandplein, after exhausting the delights of Albert Heijn and Lidl, you will no doubt have felt a little peckish and started looking around for something saucy to eat. And to your unmitigated delight, there on a corner of the square, you would no doubt spot the red neon sign of Efem Pizza en Döner, an establishment that does what it says. This, at least, has been my experience. Thus it was that on an unusually bright Sunday in October (i.e. today) I found myself drawn into the welcoming clutches of Delflandplein’s biggest culinary attraction.

What was Dr Döner doing on Delflandplein, I hear you ask? Well, things are in a continuous state of flux, and for one reason or another I am currently lodging at one of Amsterdam’s more affordable hotels, which finds itself a mere stone’s throw away from the famous square. Having nothing to do this Sunday other than drift between cafes and sniff out kebabs, I recalled having seen the lights of Efem glowing eerily the previous evening when I had been gathering my purchases at the nearby Albert Heijn. True, but not interesting. So today I went for lunch, forgetting that the clocks had gone back an hour during the night, with the result that it was only about 11am when I entered Efem and ordered a Broodje Döner and a Coke. Never mind. Anyway, the man behind the counter gave me a rather shifty grin as I placed my order, and asked me for 5 Euros for the whole meal. He then piled on the kebab meat, slathered on the sauces, and garnished it all with some diced tomato and cucumber, and a sprinkling of red onion. Red onion is always a good sign, Döner Fans. However, he did all this with a rather unpleasant sideways sneer towards me, which made me feel that I was in some way being royally shafted. I took my döner and coke over to a table and ate it, while the latest Turkish pop hits trilled in the background.

Note the red onion, Döner Fans. Red onion is a mark of class.

The döner was actually surprisingly good. For all that it was sandwiched within a rather plain bun, the meat was flavourful and the salad was fresh. The red onions certainly made a difference. The interior seemed fairly clean, despite a few rough-looking customers who eyed me over the top of their kebabs, and on glancing over at the counter I saw that the place also served more traditional Turkish fare such as Adana kebabs, lahmacun, and mercimek soup. All in all it was quite a pleasant meal. It was only when I left the shop and stepped back out onto Delflandplein that I noticed the sign outside the entrance which declared that, as a special Combi-Deal, a broodje döner and a coke cost only a mere 4,75. It was with mounting horror that I realised I had been screwed out of 25 cents. The infamy! No wonder the man had grinned at me, knowing that today he would be 25 cents the richer. No matter how good the kebab, this grim realisation left a bad taste in my mouth. No doubt I could have bartered him down. But it was too late now. Disgruntled, I stalked off into the depths of the Hoofddorppleinbuurt in the hope that a few strong coffees would allay my distress. Until next time, Döner Fans! Stay safe!

Photographic evidence which I will be using to press my case at the European Court of Human Rights.

Results

Service: 3/5 (performed with a sneer)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (clean and relaxed)

Price: 2/5 (twenty-five cents too many)

Taste: 4/5 (quite nice)

Photography provided by Dr. Döner