There was a time when I avoided various international cuisines because I thought my kids would not eat them. Entire ethnic epicures were eluded, despite my personal love for them. Too much spice. Too much chilli. Heaven forbid, too much flavour.
As my children gradually make their way out of their fussy stage and realise that there is more to dinner than plain steamed rice, I am enjoying introducing them to new cuisines, and Ararat Kebabs, a tiny Turkish take-away in the basement of the Broadway Fair Shopping Centre in Nedlands, has been helping me.
There are a lot of spices used in Turkish cooking - cumin, pepper, mint and oregano amongst them – but there is not necessarily a lot of heat, or chilli, making it quite kid-friendly. And luckily for my three, who think chilli is the anti-Christ, when you order from Ararat they always ask if I 'would like it spicy?' It's not a pick-up line, it's a genuine question and one that I am rarely asked by a number of restaurants even when I front up with my three knee-high diners.
Ararat offers a range of standard Turkish (and not so Turkish) options, namely kebabs (starting from $9.50), burgers (from $7.50), chips ($5), seafood and fish and chips (from $9), pide (from $9) and even a few pizzas.
We always order the pide, and since it is usually a ten minute wait while it is freshly baked, we indulge in a warm loaf of fresh Turkish bread ($4), tearing chunks of the chewy bread off with our hands, and then trying to hide the evidence by finishing the loaf before we get home.
There are nine varieties of pide available. Pide is essentially Turkish pizza, where the dough is rolled over the fillings, creating a cats-eye shape. Some pides are completely enclosed, others have a gap in the middle where the fillings are exposed.
Flavours include kusbashi ($11) with lamb and beef mince, vegetables and cheese; Turkish salami with egg and cheese ($11.50), chicken and feta ($11), spinach and cheese ($9.50), vegetarian ($9.50) and Turkish sausage with vegetables and cheese ($11.50).
Each pide is then chopped into six pieces and serves approximately two people (depending on how hungry you are).
We ordered two pides to take away (an extra 50c for the takeaway box) and 'not spicy' was the request. There are tables outside on the ground floor of the shopping centre if you want to eat immediately, but it is directly outside the Varsity Bar.
All the pides are fresh and tasty. The dough is soft and chewy, and even the ends which tend to be all dough and no filling are enjoyable. The flavours are mild for children, and they seem to find them more manageable than a big, floppy pizza triangle (and less messy than a kebab).
I also have to say that every time I have ordered chips from Ararat, I have scoffed half of them in the car before we even get home: they have been perfectly cooked with a good, generous amount of chicken salt.
For those who get freaky about all the carbohydrates in pide and pizza, Ararat also does a couple of salads including a warm chicken salad ($10) and the Ararat salad ($8) which is basically a Greek Salad.