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Scorcher reviews: Taksim Square

Scorcher Davidson

Taksim Square
561 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds

Click PLAY below to hear Scorcher’s review on 3AW Breakfast

Where does our very own Federation Square rank among the world’s great squares?

It’s heavy on the angles, has a severe lack of shade and turns its back on the Yarra but I get the feeling Melburnians are beginning to develop a bit of a soft spot for ol’ Fed Square.

And while the city landmark does have its charms, I reckon I’ve found a much better square in Melbourne.

But to find it you’ll have to head 7km north of the CBD, to the unassuming suburb of Moonee Ponds.

Taksim Square, a humble Turkish restaurant that hides in plain sight on Mt Alexander Road, is a great gathering spot for those who enjoy breaking pita and scoffing kofta with friends and loved ones.

It’s a real hidden gem on a road that is home to eateries as nationally diverse as an Olympic village.

Named after a tourist district in Istanbul, Taksim Square was such an unexpected delight.

It’s like a blast of a muezzin’s call to prayer outside a Sultanahmet hotel window.

The food here is raw and hits you in the happy spot.

The décor isn’t much to look at and the food is not particularly elegant or inventive, but people don’t flock here for buttoned-up, fussy fare.

From the marvellous meze (cacik dip, hummus and spiced green cheese with pistachio and melon) to the grilled meats (shish kebab, king George whiting, char-grilled octopus) cooked on the hulking three-sided ocakbasi grill, all the dishes are heartily crowd-pleasing and approachable – a sizzling slam dunk.

A quartet of sigara boregi (feta-filled pasty cigars) was hot, salty, creamy and crispy and tasted so fine they must be lethal.

But I’d happily lay down my life for another of those bad boys.

The showstopper dish that will have you saying “Ottoman oh man, that’s good” is the Adana, voted Turkey’s most popular kebab.

Minced lamb is squished onto an almighty sword (you can order a whole metre to share if you’re game) and cooked over charcoal.

It arrives with grilled tomatoes, green peppers, pita bread and onion salad – simple stuff but a complete winner.

So why fly to Istanbul when you can eat Turkish food this good in Moonee Ponds? I’d be happy to come here for three square meals a day.

Taksim Square, 561 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee Ponds; taksimsquare.com.au; meze $8-$18; mains from $24; set menu banquets options $59 and $69 per person.

Scorcher Davidson
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