A’la Turka Restaurant In Irene Is A Local Gem

On the outskirts of Irene, stands a spectacle and experience that we South Africans, especially Pretorians, are not generally as use to as we, perhaps, should be. Firstly, middle-eastern culture and cuisine is not all that strange to us, but it is possible that the majority of local foodies and travellers have never experienced the quality and authenticity that comes along with the fare and lifestyle associated to the left wing of the Mediterranean. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a signature and likewise option right here in your own city’s backyard.

Perched on a hilltop, outside of town, is the Yadah Castle. This immaculately detailed venue and spa was designed and built by the very people who started a little Turkish eatery in Garsfontein in 2004. A’la Turka quickly became an institution, and had to relocate to bigger spaces over several years. Currently, this restaurant is the flagship facet to the Yadah Castle. The castle makes for a massively refined cultural journey, literally and figuratively. It houses a wide range of function and conferencing venue options, the truly original Hammam Turkish bath and spa and, last but never the least, A’la Turka restaurant.

The restaurant offers a more genuine dining experience than anywhere else close to the capital city. It features several private and authentically Turkish dining rooms, and an exclusive dance studio that offers training in belly dancing, Latin, and hip hop styles. The locale has a selection of set menus reserved for bookings, but the tremendously refined a la carte bill of food presents epicures with a delectable assortment of bona fide Turkish, Greek and Lebanese dishes.

The menu is made up of a colossal variety of meze platters, cold meze and hot meze, authentically inspired salads, specialty main courses and desserts. The eatery also provides the opportunity of smoking middle-eastern pipes. They feature the Nargileh/Argileh hubbly bubbly pipes for use and refill with a wide selection of flavoured tobaccos. Favourite dishes include anything from the conventional tabouleh, dolma, borek, falafel and koftas, to the flavourful doner kebab, kleftiko, sheikh al mihshi and adana kebab or the oriental halva and the home-made baklava for something sweet.

The sizeable establishment makes for both a traditional and innovative experience. All due to the fact that the extraordinarily styled interior features and decorations have been detailed down to the bathroom brass and the lounge or terrace furniture hailing and inspired by the Ottoman Empire. The purely exotic Middle-Eastern sensory experience is complimented by their classical furniture aesthetic, and the vast antique jewellery, knives and coin or currency collections adorning the beautifully hand-painted walls. The cliché of being transported into the desired atmosphere has never been more truthful.

Contact A’la Turka via the Yadah Castle or restaurant’s own website for bookings or further information. The spot is open throughout the week, except on Mondays if not otherwise arranged. Visit and like their Facebook page. I would have inserted a silly joke about Turkish delight here, but I simply believe that a pleasurable visit and a delicious meal at this hidden gem right here in the 012 would truly speak for itself.

by David C. Steyn