Thursday, 8 November 2012

Anatolia Restaurant 2012

Had an interesting meal the other night at Anatolia in North Hobart. Some of the food was outstanding, while other aspects were abysmal.

I’ll set the scene for you. We are the first diners to arrive, and in fact are the only customers in the place for the duration of our meal there. Hence it would be reasonable to assume we would be on the receiving end of some good hospitality customer service – not so. We had to wait a good 15 minutes after we finished eating each course for the plates to be cleared, and further questioning from waitperson/owner as to whether or not our needs were being met.

Wanting to try and sample as much a cross section of their food as we could, we ordered, to start with, a shared Seafood Gourmet Platter ($15 pp) which comprised a king prawn each, a natural oyster each topped with a heavy-ish oil mix, and two small round shallow dishes, one containing a tomato-based sauce with marinated octopus, and the other containing a creamy sauce with mussels and diced fish. On the side of the platter was what the menu describes as “spoon salad” – god knows what that is, but it was awful. It presented like a salad I had made yesterday and accidentally left out on the bench overnight – with torn lettuce leaves, and a few other typical salad ingredients all looking quite unappetizing and wilted, and tasting worse. It was dressed with a bitter dressing, and one that did absolutely nothing to enhance the food.

The tomato-y octopus, the creamy mussel and fish ‘stew’ (for want of a better descriptor) and the prawns were fabulous, and I would return any time for those. Half way through eating these, we requested some Turkish bread to sop up all the sauce – an inspired idea, and one they should incorporate into the menu description. Leave out the crap salad and add some hot bread! Yummo!

For mains, we both ordered the Anatolian Mixed Grill Platter ($38), as it sounded good, and I remembered fondly years ago having the same menu item there (under previous owners) and thoroughly enjoying it.

The menu describes it as containing lamb cutlet, chicken shish, Turkish meatball and prawn, and that’s indeed what it did contain, along with another generous helping of the ubiquitous bitter salad! All were fine, with the lamb cutlet being cooked medium, the chicken kebab and the prawn well done, and the meatball ditto.

The mains were a slight disappointment, as they weren’t (in our opinions) as tasty as the great entrée, but I’m sure if we hadn’t had the seafood entrée previously, we would have been very happy with our mains.

The menu itself reads extremely well, with pretty well all menu items being ones I’d love to have been able to try.

But – and there is a huge ‘but’ – the atmosphere was what I can only describe as ‘weird’. From a previous random conversation with the owner, I knew that the current owners have come from overseas/mainland with no previous experience in hospitality. They were intending retiring, as they are of that age, then decided to buy Anatolia and take on a life as restaurateurs.

Unfortunately the overarching ‘old peoples’ attitude and logic applies to a lot of their approach to the restaurant business, and, being an old person myself, I well recognize the signs!

No music in a deserted restaurant room is noticeable. The owners (being the only waitstaff working that evening) sitting down in the restaurant and eating their evening meal is something I have never seen before. Yes – many restaurant owners/managers sit down in their restaurant and eat, but it’s usually when they have other staff rostered on working, or they join a friend or guest at a table and eat or drink with them. That made it awkward when we (as customers) wanted to ask for something (ie bread, or another drink, or a look at the dessert menu) and knew we were going to have to ask our waitperson who was sitting across the room at another table eating, and disturb them while they were eating their meal!

Look – good luck to them, and may they prosper, but despite some good food there, I would have to think seriously about a return visit there, or ensure I was there on a busy Friday night – just for the atmosphere!

Anatolia Restaurant
Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine
321 Elizabeth St
North Hobart
Ph 6231 1770
Posted on by Rita
1 comment


John Anderson said...

I lived in North Hobart for a 6 month period and dined at Anatolia's 2 or 3 times.

I agree with your review except for one thing. I think that because the owners are such lovely, warm, friendly people it felt ok when they sat down and ate their meal. :)

But I do agree that it can make a paying customer feel a little uncomfortable.

Oh, we did turn up for a Friday night and it had a few more people and a really cool guy playing flamenco guitar. It was a great night but the salad was terrible! lol.