Deniz Kebab House, 829 Ballarat Rd, Deer Park. Phone: 9363 1188
Here’s a Turkish eats place that sells a lot of the sandwiches otherwise known as kebabs, but which deserves to be considered so much more than a kebab shack.
With its homely formica tables, tiled floor, very friendly service and extensive menu, Deniz Kebab House is very much a family-style full-on Turkish restaurant.
Talking with owners Tuncel and Inci is very cool, as it always when the people concerned are so full of enthusiasm and passion for what they are doing.
Everything is made in-house, they proudly tell me.
And that “everything” is a lot – not just the various meats, dips and salads but also all the sweets, bread, pides, boreks, pizzas and more.
My single dolma is good, with tomatoey rice that is so al dente it’s almost crunchy. I like it that way when it comes my way!
There’s three meat genres going around and around on spits – lamb doner, chicken and one called “slice lamb kebab”.
Seizing with glee on a point of difference, I order the latter.
It’s unlike any kebab meat dish I’ve ever experienced – nicely, gently chewy with a distinctive flavour that makes me almost think there’s some kind of cheese been used in its preparation.
I subsequently discover from Tuncel that the lamb is softened with milk and onion and cooked with salt, pepper, chilli, oregano and paprika.
I’ve requested some of the house chilli dip so get that and none at all of the customary yogurt-based accompaniments for such a meal, but I’m cool with that and up for some heat.
The chilli dip is fiery hot and piquant, and goes great with not just the meat but also the bread, which arrives at my table so hot and fresh it’s steaming.
Dolma, meat plate with dip and salad, can of soft drink and a pide stuffed with lamb and herbs for the next day’s work lunch – and I’ve still got change from $20.
Tuncel tells me the opening of Chef Lagenda a few doors up a few months back is good for business in terms of helping the Deer Park strip foster a reputation for foodiness.