Greetings, Döner Fans. I write this with the sauce still dribbling from my fingers, as I have just finished eating a quite delightful dürüm. Let me lay the scene. I had been returning from a hard day in the centre of Amsterdam, the weather was cold, and the light was fading. In a stroke of ill fortune, events had conspired to prevent me from having any lunch, and as a result I was desperate for sustenance. While charging down Molukkenstraat after getting off my tram, my eyes espied the lights of Bakkerij KARA FIRIN – an establishment I have walked past numerous times, but whose wares I had never sampled. Fogging the window with my ravenous breath, I gazed in upon the display of breads and pastries, and above all upon the twin logs of rotating meat glistening against the warm glow of the hot-plates. Like two pillars of joy, out of which seeped the greasy nectar of the gods. I rushed inside and placed my order.
The décor inside was basic and utilitarian. I admit I did not have high hopes for the meal. But I ordered a lamb dürüm nonetheless with all the trimmings. The service was business-like – this was of course a daytime bakery, and not some dodgy late-night joint catering to ne’er-do-wells and the like. As such, my bread was placed in one of the traditional arched ovens at the back of the shop to be properly warmed. As it bathed in the smoky glow of the oven, I looked at the selection of options arrayed before me: as far as I could tell, there were only two types of sauce, and the only salad choice was iceberg lettuce. When I asked for ‘everything’ to be added to my dürüm, these were what I got. I paid up and departed with my feast.
Once back in Döner HQ I unwrapped my dürüm to find that it had cooled a little during the walk. I was ready for a disappointment. But then, as I bit down into it, a wave of flavour overcame me and my doubts were swept aside. Each sliver of meat was moist and packed with a subtle spiciness that prickled on the palate. The combination of hot and herbal sauce complemented the meat beautifully, and the lettuce provided a background freshness while remaining unobtrusive. I think that this is probably the closest I have found to the type of dürüm you can get in Istanbul. In any case, the tastes transported me back to the rickety streets of Beyoğlu and Galata where my love for the humble kebab was first born. My only complaint is that the dürüm was small and over far too soon. Yet, while it may not have compared to Kaplan’s giant dürüms in terms of quantity, where for the same price (3,50€) you can get something the size and girth of your forearm, this innocent dürüm from Bakkerij Kara Firin more than made up for that with its authentic taste. Bravo, Bakkerij Kara Firin! Dr Döner is a fan.
Service: 4/5 (normal for a bakery, I suppose)
Atmosphere: 3/5 (fine)
Price: 3/5 (fairly standard)
Taste: 5/5 (very tasty)
Photographs taken by Dr. Döner.