This eatery prides itself for authentic Turkish delights

food review

With the marriage season gripping the Capital, Sercan Unsal, owner of Alaturka chain of restaurants is a busy man. “People who come to eat at our place enter as customers but leave as our friends.

This is the reason I get invited to so many marriages, not to prepare food but as an invitee,” says the 39-year-old, a native of Turkey’s Anatolia region.

An alumnus of the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Unsal came to India in 1996 on a college scholarship. Being a student of commerce, he had initially planned to get himself educated and head back to his country to start a business but fate had planned something else for him.

“In my student life, I made a lot of Indian friends and we used to go out to eat Shawarma. But the Shawarma that was being sold at many food joints here was not authentic. I invited my friends over for dinner one day. From the moment they had Turkish Shawarma and other delicacies, they started to persuade me into opening a Turkish restaurant here in Delhi,” Unsal told Metrolife.

“After completing my Master’s degree I started my own business of selling handicrafts and shawls in Turkey, but food was always on my mind. Finally in 2008, after saving enough money in Turkey, I opened my first restaurant in the Select CITYWALK mall of South Delhi. By 2014 we managed to open another two units in Ambience malls of Vasant Kunj and Gurgaon,” Unsal added.

He told Metrolife that while he plans to open three more restaurants in Delhi and NCR areas this year alone, he has been getting invitation from several northern states of India.

“We keep it simple here. All we have to do is serve authentic Turkish food, something which is not common in India,” Unsal said, adding that the famous non-vegetarian platter, consisting of roasted chicken, salads, and humus does not does not have a single drop of oil.”  

Chef Abdullah, the head of the kitchen, is from Turkey. He is 56-years-old and has loads of experience with him, Unsal informs.

“We sell some Arabic food items here as well, but the Shawarma has to be authentic. Changing the original recipe of the food means to ruin the essence of the food,” he added.

Infact the Shawarma, which is served with traditional beverages of Turkey like Turkish coffee, apple tea and lots of salads, is something which Alaturka takes very seriously. Metrolife inquired about Unsal’s obsession with Shawarma.
“Shawarma originally is a Levantine delicacy. The name itself comes from the Turkish word çevirme which means ‘turning’,” said Unsal beaming with pride while elaborating on the history of Turkish food.

The apple tea, served in traditional brass crockery, is engraved with the royal signature or Tughra of Sultan Mehmed who is credited to have brought the end of the Byzantine empire by conquering Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).

He went on, “When Turkey, Syria, Iraq and other Arab countries were one, Ottoman Sultans would go to different parts of the Caliphate and would take their chefs with them. The chefs would cook Turkish food and with time, items like Doner Kabab, Shawarma were common throughout Arabia.”“This is not only food, its history,” Unsal concluded

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