Saturday, 5 September 2015

A Review Of Dalaman Akkaya Garden Restaurant

Merhaba!  My dear friends (to use the words of our Turkish tour guide)!  Today I thought I'd do something a bit different, and venture into a new style of blogging I never thought I'd dabble in.  But, finger in every pie and all that... today's post is a restaurant review.  Yes, I can't quite believe it either - fashion and beauty blogger turned globe-trotting restaurant critic (I jest, maybe in my dreams - who wouldn't want to get paid to eat food and then write about it?!).  

The Dalaman Akkaya Garden Restaurant is a mouthful and a half to begin with - what a name! - but having read a few rave reviews on Trip Advisor, and it only being around half an hour from where we're staying we thought we'd be silly not to give it a go.  We phoned up the restaurant first and asked if we could make a reservation, but strangely, owing to their 250 person capacity, they said they were fully booked.  Finding this hard to believe for a Wednesday night, we drove down ourselves in hope that they might have a table left for four.  The drive there is gorgeously scenic, we left around 7.30pm so managed to catch the sunset as we drove over the mountains.  The road there hugs the side of the mountain meaning to your right is a sheer drop, making the trip a little scary but the views are second to none.  

When we arrived at the restaurant, it was pretty much empty.  We were bemused, having been told it was fully booked on the phone, as we were seated by a waiter in one of the treetop tables.   

The setting is great; although we were sitting on one of the relatively closer to the ground tables, it's a lovely idea to sit in what look like big wicker baskets set in the trees.  When we arrived there was still a reasonable amount of light, the sun not quite having set yet, but within twenty minutes it was a bit darker and the waiter turned on yellowy-orange lights above each table.  One problem we did find, and I don't know if it's the same during the daytime, but the amount of bloodsucking insects was horrifying.  What started out to be quite an idyllic setting, soon started hurtling downwards in our estimations to that of a dystopian eating place as we struggled not to be eaten alive ourselves by the countless mosquitoes (among all the other insects we couldn't identify). 

Service was slow, despite the lack of guests, but we were in no rush and had ordered within about half an hour of sitting down.  Josh and I had both settled for the Akkaya kebab, as what I originally wanted (a lamb dish) wasn't available, and Fleur and Jason both ordered a peppercorn steak.  
The food arrived within about half an hour, and just in time as signs of h-anger were just beginning to emerge, as we desperately and violently swatted left right and centre in an attempt to keep the insects off us.  We befriended a little kitten who sat politely at the table, gazing as the steaks were placed down. 

From pretty much all our experiences so far, the food in Turkey is great so we had the same expectation, if not higher, of this place which had come so well recommended on Trip Advisor.  Perhaps if the food had been great, we could've let everything else go, but unfortunately for us, it wasn't.  The beef in our kebab dishes was just a little bit too bland and tough, and was doused in a rich tomato sauce and yoghurt that made the bed of what looked and tasted like Chipsticks very soggy, very fast.  The steak, according to Fleur, was also more than below par.  Having had a great steak with even better peppercorn sauce only a few days prior in Dalyan, she said this by comparison was not worth talking about, in particular because of the peppercorn 'gravy' which was likened to (I hate to write this) Bisto gravy granules.  The true secret ingredients to our meals will remain the Chef's mystery, but we had our suspicions and could not let them go.  

We were intrigued by the desserts that we'd seen on the menu so thought we'd give the food another chance and sample some of the sweet treats on offer.  We asked one of the waiters for a dessert menu; I'm not sure if he was struggling with the language barrier but his reply was 'desserts? No.  No desserts.', before swiftly departing without further explanation.  We thought maybe he'd misunderstood us, so waited another twenty or so minutes before another waiter came over and shouted up to us 'You alright?'.  We asked again for a dessert menu and were told there were no desserts but only ice cream.  We were sorely disappointed, to say the least.  Downcast, we asked for the bill, regretting that the meal had no chance of redemption now that we couldn't sample the tiramisu or pumpkin pie.  Another twenty minutes passed before the waiter returned to tell us to go and pay at the bar.  By this point, we were a little peeved.  We discussed that we wanted to voice our disappointment at the lack of food on the menu, the quality of the food we had, and the slow and reluctant service.  We shared our concerns with the staff at the bar, but they seemed to fall on deaf ears.  We paid (almost 200 lira, which is relatively expensive for Turkey) in order to avoid what was rapidly descending into a fully blown argument and finger-pointing debacle, and got out of there as quickly as we could, stomachs just about full but certainly not satisfied, and covered in insect bites that were the most memorable souvenir of our whole meal. 

And that, sadly, sums up our experience at Dalaman Akkaya Garden Restaurant.  We gave it a good chance, but ultimately, it is not a place I would recommend to anyone staying near the area, in fact, I would advise you to steer well clear - there's a McDonald's in Fethiye that we had a more enjoyable meal at last night, no joke, 

Ruby x