Downtown Istanbul is a cool contemporary Turkish restaurant on a leafy corner of a lively little dining precinct next to Hawthorne's luxury Cinema Deluxe complex.
Mixing the best of tradition with Brisbane’s modern al fresco lifestyle, you won’t find any ancient hanging rugs at Downtown Istanbul but an ambient courtyard-style dining space with hanging plants, mosaic tiles, an open kitchen and wall shelves of Turkish décor including hand-painted plates and jugs.
On the menu are Mezze, Gozleme (traditional Turkish flatbread), Salads, Pide (Turkish pizzas), Char Grill (Shish, Skewers and Mixed Grills served with shepherd’s salad and Turkish rice pilav) and Desserts as well as Lunch Specials of Ottoman Burgers (served with chips).
Everything is prepared fresh on-site at Downtown Istanbul, including the outstanding vine-leaves, lentil soup and Baklava, which are handmade by owner (and Hawthorne local) Eddie Isik’s wife Ulku.
Start with some delicious Mezze, designed to share. Highly recommended is the Iman Bayildi (oven-baked Turkish eggplant, filed with tomato, onion and peppers and served with a divine yoghurt sauce), the melt-in-the-mouth Ege Borek (hand-rolled filo pastry with Turkish cheese, shallots and herbs), the Yaprak Sarma (vine leaves with spiced Turkish rice) and the Mujver (deep fried vege fritters) or, if it’s too hard to decide, the latter come as part of a Mezzze Platter which includes the in-house Falafel. There’s also a range of traditional Turkish dips (including Baba Ghanoush, Jajik and Beetroot) which can be ordered as a trio.
As well as the fresh-baked Gozleme (with toppings such as sweet potato, beef, or mushroom, spinach and feta) not to be missed are the Pide, which are also baked fresh to order – try the Kusbasi (lamb, onion, capsicum, tomato and parsley), Vegetarian or House Special ( Turkish Salami, chicken, mozzarella, egg, mushroom and capsicum).
From the Char Grill options include the melt-in-the mouth Lamb Shish, Garlic Prawn Skewers, Mixed Grill or Pilic Sehrazat (charcoal grilled chicken breast, beetroot and creamy mushroom sauce).
And don’t miss the Dessert at Downtown Istanbul – think Traditional Turkish Delight with rose petals, Homemade Baklava and Chantilly cream, Chocolate Tart with Turkish Delight ice-cream or Revani (sticky orange and almond cake with spiced syrup), all of which come as part of an amazing Dessert Tasting Plate.
Downtown Istanbul is fully licensed with an excellent selection of wines (including Rose and Dessert) to complement the food, from Oz, NZ and Spain, craft beers including rarities such as Bicycle Beer, Powerstance Pilsner, Efes and New World Order American Stout, while a handful of cocktails include a Turkish version of Spanish Sangria, Middle Eastern Margarita, Lychee Mojito and an Orange and Guava Mimosa.
Need to know - Bookings are essential on weekend nights and recommended on week nights.
Nice to know - Downtown Istanbul also does takeaway.
The menu may have changed since our visit.
Check out more of Brisbane's great Turkish restaurants HERE