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Published November 14th 2014
Named Australia's best Turkish restaurant for good reason
Mado seats 300 people and has been awarded Australia's best Turkish restaurant in 2013
If you're looking for Brisbane's best Turkish, you need not stray further than Mado Turkish Restaurant in Southbank. You could convincingly argue it's the best Turkish restaurant in Australia - it was named the Australian Restaurant and Catering award winner for the nation's best Turkish in 2013.
If the number of accolades is anything to go by, it's definitely got the chops, and despite there being no shortage of restaurants in Southbank, put this one near the top of your list. Too often in your search for a good restaurant you end up paying top dollar for food that is only OK, or a portion size that could barely be described as generous. Not at Mado, or at least not what we had.
Mado's interior is authentic from every handwoven Perisan carpet, cushions and table cloths
With a group of five who were keen to stay a while, we were looking for a long evening soiree, and a number of different dishes that we could all share – the more variety of tastes, flavours and textures the better. Thankfully Mado popped into my mind when suggesting appropriate places, and thankfully everyone agreed it was a good choice. Especially when I mentioned that you can smoke, grape, watermelon or mint sheesha tobacco for dessert.
I could have happily filled up on the Turkish dip selection, green salad, and turkish bread entrée
We contemplated ordering a few things all to share, however if you have four or more people, are hungry, and want to get a comprehensive introduction to Turkish cuisine I implore you to select the Turkish banquet. This can be tailored to suit any number over four and at $47.00 each – it may sound pricey, but considering what you get, it's value for money. To recount the meal, is to take mouth-watering trip down memory lane and I'm getting banquet hankerings just remembering the feast that was brought out to us, dish by glorious dish.
It started with the dip selection, accompanied by a basket of Turkish bread and a lightly dressed mixed green salad. I'd recommend asking for extra bread, especially since the ramekins the four dips are served in are generously deep. I'm sure most people have had hummus and eggplant dip before, but these homemade creations were garlic goodness – not to mention the creamy carrot dip served, and the yoghurt based Cacik. Everyone was clucking their tongue approvingly at the entrée.
The cheese and garlic pide was snapped up so quickly I had to rush to get this picture
The main came in three stages. The first a lightly crumbed marinated calamari. Brought out piping hot, and al dente without being rubbery, they were the perfect morsels of moreishness. Alas, we still had the pide. Similar to a garlic and cheese naan – but probably better, this was devoured without reverence. By the time I took a photo it was grabbed and almost gone.
It was time for the meat. The mixed grill platter was the most succulent offering yet and a lightly smoked cook-up of 'get in my belly' goodness. With lamb shish, chicken shish and lamb koftes (lamb patties) the latest addition to the table was grilled to perfection from the charcoal infused cooking technique, and served on a bed of jasmine rice. Lord have mercy.
The lamb and chicken mixed grill was packed with belt busting goodness
Despite belts almost busting, there was still a light dessert to look forward to. Starting with Turkish tea – similar to Earl Grey and served in a charming glass, the mixed dessert and fruit platter was a nice nightcap. With sweet baklava, Turkish delight and rockmelon and watermelon to cleanse the palate some of us were struggling. But it still wasn't over.
Turkish dessert selection - Baklava, melon and Turkish delight was the perfect way to finish the banquet
Finally more than 2 hours later after arriving we were moved to the Hookah smoking section. Our host recommended the grape since it had the fruitiness the girls wanted, without being overly sweet. After the grape infused coals were lit, we passed around the hose, drawing long breaths, and reflecting on the epic meal that was, while feeling totally relaxed. All our needs had been met – and then some.
After dinner you can enjoy hookah, choosing from grape, mint, strawberry, watermelon, lemon or orange flavours.
If you've never had hookah do yourself a favour and enjoy it after a meal as they do in the Middle East. Its not going to make you cough, there's no harshness or head spins and it's an extra $20.00 for dining customers. Like I said, we were looking for a comprehensive Turkish experience and this definitely delivered.
The perfect evening and meal that will be remembered
Coming in at just over $300.00 including beer and wine, it was a dining extravagance and the ideal evening that I'm sure everyone in our group will remember for some time to come.
Two visits down, two complete successes, and when the need for Turkish food comes to mind – which I'm sure it will – I know exactly where to go.
Mado Turkish Restaurant is open 7 days from 11.30am -10.30pm and located at 15 Tribune Street, South Brisbane, facing the Southbank Parklands. Belly dancers perform to traditional arrangements each Friday and Saturday night.