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!
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.
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!
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