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Published January 5th 2013
A Turkish restaurant that serves German dishes and more
This little place is the epitome of ingenuity not just in terms of the culinary, but also in the nifty use of space and decor. That's Kitchen Royale for you. A tiny space, in an excellent location, but extremely hard to find, serving the tastiest Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes I've had in recent times. You'll find this quaint little eatery in a tiny lane off Bourke St. Mall in the Royal Arcade near the Elizabeth Street exit.
You're very likely to miss it if you're not careful. Look for the neat row of tiny tables with red and black chequered table linen. Even if you do find it chances are you might not find a table as they are very limited and easily filled up by a faithful clientele. You're more likely to catch a break during weekdays at odd hours just before and after lunch time. Yes, you really have to plan like a bank robber to get a meal here.
The menu here at the Kitchen Royale sports assorted delicacies in addition to the popular Turkish grills. Don't be surprised to see German names such as Gozleme, Borek, and Spaetzle. I can't tell you how they fare because I didn't go for any of that. Maybe next time. They also have a range of Middle Eastern savouries and pastries. This time, however, I was bent on some authentic Turkish taste.
The special advertised seemed really appetising and that's what I went for. I chose the Turkish Grilled Salad and the Chicken Breast Kofte and that, gentle reader, was definitely one of the better choices I've made in life. The kofte, which is quite similar to meatballs, was moderately spicy and incredibly flavourful. The assorted salad ingredients went admirably together to create a culinary feast for my palate.
My companion went for the Arancino balls professing a strange craving for it since that morning. I was too absorbed in my grilled fare to pay any attention to that. But he did have a happy face on after eating and so I take it to mean it all went well. We'd ordered coffee and that was extremely good. It had a rich flavour and didn't taste quite like latte but certainly hit the spot.
The service at Kitchen Royale is cheerful and efficient. The food took about ten minutes to be served but you won't mind that wait because you'll be busy people-watching. May be I'd have cribbed about that if the food had been horrible or the service more of a non-service. Good food makes good dispositions, I suppose. The rates are reasonable and the serving size just right. I also love the inner-city secret hideout location.
The only drawback to the place is the lack of space. The table is tiny and barely holds two plates and glasses. Besides, we were seated outside and hungry passers-by could easily have swiped my meatballs. Okay that's a bit of an exaggeration, but that certainly seems a possibility given the extreme proximity between the food and swinging hands. The lack of space also means you can't go there with a group of friends, but it's perfect for two people who want to be alone.