Have you ever had a conversation with someone that simply didn’t make sense?
I have. It went something like this:
Scene: My parents’ house.
Time: Early afternoon.
My mother enters the room where I sit on the couch, typing away on my laptop.
Mum: Hello there, Darling Beloved Awe-Inspiring Daughter of Mine!
Me: Mum, you don’t need to call me that every time you see me. It’s embarrassing. Just call me “Hannah”.
Mum: Well, okay then, Hannah. I’ll see what I can do. Anyway, I wanted to talk to you about your dad’s 60th birthday dinner.
Me: Fantastic! Where are we heading?
Mum: Ottoman Cuisine.
Me (high-pitched voice; whining): Ottoman Cuisine? Ottoman Cuisine? But I ALREADY BLOGGED THAT PLACE.
Mum: Yes, Hannah, I know. But this is the celebratory dinner for your dad’s 60th birthday. It isn’t about you.
See? See what the woman said at the end there? About my dad’s birthday not being about me? It just. doesn’t. make. sense.
However, I did my best to wrap my head around the situation, and you know what? Dad’s birthday dinner at Ottoman Cuisine ended up being an utterly fabulous night. Not only did blogging the same restaurant twice force me to order new-and-untried dishes, but my extended family are rather wonderful and, by the end of the night, my stomach hurt from laughing so much. In other words: win.
Ottoman Cuisine, Take Two
Perusing the Ottoman Cuisine menu, I suddenly realised that I’d never had zucchini flowers in my life. Therefore I had to order them. (This logic does not – I repeat, does not – apply to Rocky Mountain Oysters.)
Good choice, Hannah. The goats feta inside the zucchini flowers was wonderfully tangy, and I didn’t even mind the pine nuts. Plus, vegetables are always good, which is why I traded a bite of one flower for a char-grilled spicy mushroom from Mum’s plate, and an entire flower for one of Dad’s “king prawns with shitake mushrooms & baby spinach, served with lemon & yoghurt sauce”.
I feel I ought to state here that there were nine of us dining at the Ottoman on this night, but I mostly only have photos of my own food. Alas! And also alas for my next dish, which was the slightly-disappointing “Scallop Moussaka” special.
This turned out to be a rather liberal interpretation of “moussaka”, as it comprised chargrilled eggplant topped with tomato concasse and grilled scallops accompanied by quenelles of taramosalata. I have no issues with the fun interpretation of the classic dish, but I was saddened by the fact that it was bland. The taramosalata had some nice flavour, but there wasn’t enough oomph in the rest of the dish to save it from humdrum status.
Luckily, all was forgiven when my dessert arrived. Oh, how my dessert arrived.
This kazandibi dessert was simply lovely. The baked custard had an interesting soft-yet-solid-ish texture, and the mastica contributed a subtle, almost-herbal flavour. I loved the caramelised top, but what really stole my heart was the deeply tangy, but still sweet, pomegranate ice cream.
As you can see, I hated this. I hated this so much that I cried in the car on the way home.
My mum ordered one of the dessert specials, which was an almond meal custard topped with fresh fruit and Persian fairy floss.
She didn’t offer me a bite. I cried on the way home about that too.
One of my grandmas ordered the sole chocolate dessert on the menu, and guarded it from my brother’s sneaky fork with her life.
Then, fueled by our three-course dinner, the sneaky-fork-wielding brother and I left the 60th birthday party to join some of my friends in the city for drinks. I soon realised that I’m generally happier hanging out with said friends in places where we can actually hear each other speak, rather than in bars where the super-high noise level is equalled only by the stickiness of the floors.
Still, it was a fun night, and I got to wear my new dress.
Even if I did find myself unconsciously doing the chicken dance whilst wearing it.