I confess that I have a soft spot for Mediterranean cuisine: kebabs and baba ganoush, fresh and zingy tzatziki and honeyed baklava. I love the bright flavours, the judicious use of spices on properly grilled or roasted meats, and the emphasis on freshness with regard to fruit and vegetables. Throw in the fact that the food of the Med is also deliciously healthy, and who wouldn’t be sold on it?
Much of the Med-style cuisine I’ve had so far has been either Greek (via Cyma) or Persian (care of Persia Grill). Thus, when given the opportunity to try the Turkish way of cooking things, I certainly did not hesitate.
Feta Mediterranean occupies the space where a rather wan little Sicilian establishment used to be. While its name skews more towards Greek cuisine, its specialties are done to Turkish recipes. That said, while the names of the dishes on its bill of fare are familiar, there are a few differences that are more than subtle – differences that put a unique savour to these dishes.
Case in point: Feta’s baba ganoush is not the smoky, creamy, slightly peppery veg pate served at Persia Grill. Instead, it’s more like a yogurt dip enhanced with pockets of smoky roasted eggplant and a drizzle of good-quality olive oil. It is a tangy, tasty dip for the lavash bread – soft and puffy in spots, flat and shatteringly crisp in others – but one that shows off more of the tang of yogurt and the sharpness of garlic.
I opted for the chicken şiş kebab for my main. I’m not really a fan of grilled chicken in restaurants as I’ve had dry, stringy, poor excuses for grilled fowl – and breast meat, at that! – too many times. But this, thank goodness, was not a disappointment.
Feta’s chicken is grilled in such a way that the white meat remains juicy and succulent, edge-of-a-spoon tender as a matter of fact. And it is not the flavourless provender served at other establishments: the meat was rubbed well with a tangy, earthy combination of cumin, sumac powder, and turmeric. The earthiness of the cumin blended very well with the zingy turmeric, creating flavours that were properly spicy but not to fiery. The tart sumac added a touch of acidity: a fruity, but not quite citrus, counterpoint.
While the salad served was just shredded iceberg lettuce, sweet onion, and tomato, it was crisply fresh and went nicely with the herbed yogurt served on the side. The rice was also a treat: slightly sweet and the perfect foil to the sharper, more pungent ingredients.
I have no regrets in trying Feta Mediterranean. Indeed, I’m looking forward to having another meal there. 🙂
Feta Mediterranean: Chefs’ Avenue – 3rd Floor, Festival Supermall, Alabang, Muntinlupa