In modern Turkish language sofra means a table prepared or set for eating a meal. Sofra has been serving Turkish food in this location since 1999. I went past it many times, but never got a chance to step foot into the restaurant until now.
This evening, I hosted a large group of business associates from around the region, and I was looking for a Halal certified restaurant. Sofra came to mind – close to my office, and fits the criteria, and more importantly they have a reputation of serving one of the best Turkish meal in town.
In the Ottoman and Turkish worlds, a yer sofrası is traditionally a low table or tray used as a dining table. Tables in the restaurant are set in a long rectangular format to facilitate communal dining for large groups. And to really try the cuisine on offer, you would really need to come in a large group.
Turkish cuisine (Turkish: Türk mutfağı) is largely the heritage of Ottoman cuisine, which can be described as a fusion and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Balkan cuisines. Turkish cuisine has in turn influenced those and other neighbouring cuisines, including those of Southeast Europe (Balkans), Central Europe, and Western Europe. The Ottomans fused various culinary traditions of their realm with influences from Levantine cuisines, along with traditional Turkic elements from Central Asia (such as yogurt and mantı), creating a vast array of specialities.
Frequently used ingredients in Turkish specialties include: lamb, beef, rice, fish, eggplants, green peppers, onions, garlic, lentils, beans, zucchinis and tomatoes. Nuts, especially pistachios, chestnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts, together with spices, have a special place in Turkish cuisine, and are used extensively in desserts or eaten separately.
Meze is a selection of food served as the appetiser course. And Sofra’s salad plate is a great meze to start with.
Sofra’s salad plate is a generous combination of Sofra salad (spiced veggie mixed with herbs & walnuts), eggplant salad (fried eggplant with tomatoes, peppers & onions), hummus and vine leaves roll (imported vine leaves stuffed with rice, pine nuts, currants & spices)
A classic from Middle East and Mediterranean cuisine, Sofra’s hummus is a mildly spiced cream mixture of chickpeas and tahini with lemon juice.
The pita sesame bread has been sprinkled with a decent amount of sesame that brought out its fragrance. Eat it hot with hummus, it’s a meal on its own.
Jumbo kebab combo
Kebab refers to a great variety of meat-based dishes in Turkish cuisine. Kebab in Turkey encompasses not only grilled or skewered meats, but also stews and casseroles.
Jumbo plate consists of Eggplant Kebab, Shish Kebab & Doner Kebab. This is the piece de resistance from Sofra and a showcase of their repertoire of grilled meats.
Oven baked eggplant served with rice. I didn’t like their moussaka, but it was because the lack of eggplant.
Mussaka with lamb
The same moussaka but with sliced lamb kebab into the moussake. Really nothing to shout about, so I would suggest you skip this.
Baked Kadaiff with cheese & pure butter. Nothing tastes like Turkish kunefe! Künefe contains wire kadayıf with a layer of melted cheese in between and it is served hot with pistachios or walnuts.
Kadaiff noodles are a type of thin Turkish noodles. They are made of flour and water that is poured through a sieve onto a hot metal cooking tray. The cooking time is very short. They are used to make Middle Eastern desserts and other foods around the Mediterranean. It is typically the base ingredient in Baklava and Kunefe.
Sofra’s kunefe was soaked in a sweet rose fragrant syrup. The kadaiff was baked to a crisp, it could do with a slightly softer interior to bring out rose syrup. The sprinkling of crushed pistachio was a must, but it could do with some roasting.
Impression of Sofra
Ottoman cuisine it is not, Sofra serves homecooked Turkish food is quite good. The portions were generous and the taste authentic.
Service staff needed more training. One of them got my order wrong three times! Either she forgot an item, or she put in the wrong amount (too little) or she totally got the order wrong from the other tables. We have to correct the orders a couple of times, when we were served the wrong stuff or waited for a long time for food to be served.
I would go there for my personal craving for Turkish food. But It is not good for business gathering.
Sofra Turkish Cafe & Restaurant
100 Beach Road, #02-42/44, Shaw Tower,
Shaw Leisure Gallery, Singapore 189702
Tel : +65 6291 1433
Date Visited : Dec 2019