My cup of Turkish coffee at Köşebaşı reveals…squat.

LISA! Don’t stir the coffee, turkish coffee is not supposed to be stirred! You’ll disturb the coffee sediment from the bottom!

I raised a puzzled eyebrow at my cousin Luls as she wailed at her 9-year old daughter. First, she orders Lisa a cup of bitter coffee that no 4th grader in their right mind would ingest. Then she demands that my little pink shoe’d niece discreetly stir in the sugar without upsetting the coffee residue at the bottom. All so that we could turn over the cups after our meal and have the waiters read out our fortune. Supposedly a well-known Turkish coffee tradition that I’ve been in the dark about until I’d bought my touristy cousin and her daughter for dinner at the Köşebaşı at JBR.

Ummm… Luls, I’m not so sure about this. Can we just have our coffee and leave?

No! This is tradition in Turkey, the servers always read out your fortune from the coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup!

But I don’t see a Turkish server here, they all seem either Filipino or Indian.


Without the assistance of a Turkish server to read our fortunes, my cousin stubbornly decided to tip over the cups herself in an attempt to show me how the tradition was practised. The result – a brown sludgey mess. If my fortune looks like that, I’d rather not have it read at all.

Turk kahvesi - Turkish coffee. Turned to sludge by my lovely cousin.

Anyhow, even if I didn’t end up walking away knowing my futures in 2020, I did roll out having had some of my favorite foods at Köşebaşı. I’d first sampled this restaurant on new years eve, and since the time I bit into those tender chicken kabab cubes (Tavuk Sis) rubbed with spices, served up alongside a bowl of eggplant rice – and my own extra sprinkling of sumac – I was hooked.

Tavuk sis - Chicken kababs
Eggplant rice

I think at the time I rated the chicken kababs even higher than some of the best Iranian places I’ve tried in Dubai, sort of like the Oscars of Kababs…but this time, the chicken was just good. Not worthy of an Oscar, but still very, very good.

Other eats that prompted some major face-stuffing action…

Warm freshly poofed triangular bread pockets studded with sesame seeds (I’m sure there is a more technical Turkish word to describe these, but till someone enlightens me, poofed triangular bread pockets they are.)

Fresh Poofed Bread.

The best way to eat them is to de-poof, rip off a piece, and dunk it into a bowl of Kosebasi’s hummous, that I’ve found to be a notch more unique compared to a lot of other places churning out hummous in the city. Or I’d go with one of the many other dips that can be picked off the platter, like Kisir, a salad of bulgar wheat reddened with some sweet-tart pomegranate juice…

Kisir - Bulgur salad

…or this intensely creamy yogurt with thick strands of parsley. I could totally see one end of a gigantic hose attached to a tank of this parsley yogurt, and myself happily poised at the other end…turn the yogurt faucet and the thick sour creamy gloop comes rushing through the hose straight into my mouth. To be added to the list of practical kitchen gadgets that I shall design someday.


And here we have my all-time favorite dip-which-is-not-really-a-dip – sundried tomatoes and walnuts marinating in garlicky olive oil.

Cevizli domates kurusu - Sundried tomatoes with walnuts and olive oil

The tomatoes get plumper by the minute as they suck up the oil and combine it with their own sweet tomatoey juices. A dip that’s so good that you can eat it plain – no bread or anything else needed to distract attention the sweet sour nutty flavors mixing about on the plate. I officially put this dip on…*DRUMROLL* my list of Best Seven of 2011!! umm…remember that one?

As with most things in my life, I guess I’d sort of forgotten about the ‘Best of’ list that I had started compiling here at the start of the new year…but the sundried tomatoes just resurfaced that happy memory and The List has been resurrected from the dust of lazy weeks past. With my Köşebaşı sundried tomatoes squished right in the center there.

Switching to some menu choices where I’ve had mixed reactions, here’s the sampler plate of pidette, the Turkish version of pizza in bite sized form, from the hot appetizers section…

Assorted meat, spinach and cheese pidette

…the ground meat on crispy pizzette one and the cheese boat are my two picks. The spinach pocket, not so thrilling.

The impossible to pronounce Ilik Tavluku Salata had some juicy, super salty cubes of chicken (in my world, super salty = gooood.), but oh Kosebasi, me wants crunchy fresh-tasting lettuce leaves, not mayo and oil-logged soggy patches that bleed out onto the smokey chicken goodness.

Ilik Tavuklu Salata - Chicken kabab salad with some sort of mayo-based dressing

The doner kabab. This was a hit the first time I ordered it on a previous visit, but a terrible miss this time around. The strips of lamb and beef had an intensely smokey, meaty doner kabab flavor [good], but somewhere along the way those strips of lamb and beef had an identity crisis and ended up being more like packaged jerky than kabab [BAD]. Dry, dry, DRY. That said, I still munched on them anyway because I’m a sucker for all things smokey and meaty.

Döner - Shreds of beef and lamb from the traditional rotating spit

One other dish that we didn’t venture to order this time around, but that’s definitely among my top picks, is the icli kofte – meatballs stuffed with spices and other yummy things that deserve to be part of any appetizers order when you have more than just two hungry women + one fourth grader at the dinner table.

Talking about having a fourth grader at the dinner table, always helps to have a super cute kid at a restaurant with you. The servers will usually grin and wave goodbye like they’re your best friends…even if you’ve wrecked their table cloth by spilling coffee grounds all over.

(PS. The Köşebaşı bill did emerge later from the dark recesses of my purse. Turns out, poofy bread is called ballon bread…balloon bread…couldn’t have described it better.)

Poofed Balloon Bread

The Walk at the Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai, UAE
Telephone: +971 (4) 4393788

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

16 thoughts on “My cup of Turkish coffee at Köşebaşı reveals…squat.

  1. CompleteFoodie says:

    The pooofy bread looks really poofy and yummy! Never tried this place but always pass it, will have to give the bread and yogurt dip a try sometime

  2. saleem says:

    Interesting – need to check out the Turkish coffee and the fortune reading.

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @CompleteFoodie – Don’t make the mistake of passing it by again. Cause POOFY BREAD ROCKS.

      @Abigail – Doesn’t get healthier than yogurt dip for breakfast. I bet this isn’t hard to make either – except getting that perfect creamy texture with that sourish taste which makes this yogurt dip so good.

      @saleem – yep, I’m surprised we didn’t hear any of this when we visited Turkey. Worth a return trip? ;)

  3. Rajani@eatwritethink says:

    oh wow!! i am so going to try this place out… love all the mezze stuff. the bread looks like a pillow i could sleep on and eat it at the same time… hmm… and giving a 4th grader coffee… i am SHOCKED!!

  4. Out and About says:

    I love Kose Basi and rave about it all the time! Been there twice and I have to say that I prefer it over most Arabic restaurants when it comes to kebabs and "pizzas." I hope it continues to stay consistently good.

  5. Sally says:

    Great recommendation. Going to try it soon – KP loves Turkish food (maybe I should take him as a bribe before I leave for my Turkish weekend without him!)

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Rajani – Now THAT’S an idea. Pillows made of bread. I like…*notes down idea for dream edible house*

      @Out and About – Yay, another Kosebasi bum pal! Now that you mention the pizzas, I have got to move past that pizza/pide appetizer plate and do the full ones.

      @Sally – Can’t go wrong with Turkish kababs and bread when it comes to bribes, get to it! Oh, and when you heading out to Turkey…the land of kababs, honey and breakfast cheese, knafeh, baklava, pide….I am insanely jealous.

  6. Sukaina says:

    im liking the balloon bread…a lot! and when you create that hose with yoghurt whooshing out, do let me know…and pls don’t forget to TM it…just in case ;)

  7. shafeena says:

    Looks incredible :)… love turkish food… but there are so many fake ones in dubai its not even funny !!!

  8. Swati says:

    I love the kosebasi kebab ( spicy ) made of minced lamb. It is gorgeous and melts in the mouth

    1. InaFryingPan says:

      @Sukaina – hehehe…yes, that hose will be patented, but you will always be welcome to borrow it from me, anytime!

      @shafeena – fake ones? tell me where…I shall stay clear.

      @Swati – now why haven’t I tried that yet? Thanks for letting me know, on the must-order list now!

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