Tulip presents Turkish food, one of the oldest cuisines in the world. The Tulip was the national emblem of the Turkey dominated Ottoman Empire, a fitting name for a fine restaurant. Unfortunately, tulips do not like the Bali weather so the rear garden is full of lotus blooms instead
Discuss Turkish food and people think of that wonderful Turkish bread and kebabs. At Tulip you will experience the very best of both, but also lots more as well. Delicate tastes with a subtle use of herbs and spices.
Tulip sets a new standard in Bali on two counts. Aware of the tourist attitude to the constant '++' [tax and service charge] charged in excess of the menu price almost everywhere in Bali but nowhere else in S.E. Asia, they have eliminated the service charge, instead opting to pay that to the staff out of their own margin. Another constant request from tourists is about dietary concerns. At Tulip all dishes are clearly marked if they contain gluten, nuts, egg, dairy products or shell fish. A nice change to find newcomers to the restaurant scene who appreciate what 'service' means, attention to the small things can make all the difference.
Traditionally Turkish meals begin with Mezze [cold appetizers], as do many cuisines from the eastern Mediterranean. All but one [the Circassin Chicken, shredded meat combined with milk and garlic] are pure vegetarian, and full of high fibre; Lentil Balls [ red lentils rolled with cracked wheat, garlic and olive oil], Muammara [baked capsicum with crunchy walnuts on top, garlic and olive oil, a little bit spicy], Kopeglu [fried eggplant with garlic and yoghurt, Fresh Leeks, Stuffed Zucchini [with a herbed rice mix], Pilaki [pinto beans with carrot, potatoes, garlic and tomato sauce] and the International Humus, but Istanbul style, a boiled chickpea puree with garlic and cumin.
The array of different Mezze can be daunting for the newcomer. Tulip solves that problem by presenting the complete range of 16 on a side table. The waiter explains each one and you decide whether you want it moved to your table or not. Much better than just pictures on the menu!
With all of these dips you use that wonderful Turkish bread, hot, straight from the wood-fired oven, almost a meal in itself! There are also some hot appetizers; the tasty Sigara Bourek, cigar-shaped deep fried pastries rolled around a mix of cheese and parsley, Mucver, deep-fried zucchini with dill, feta cheese, egg, yoghurt and a garlic sauce and White Cabbage stuffed with minced meat and rice.
Turkish salads are full of a large variety of healthy things; the Gavurdagi is with tomatoes, cucumber, onion, parsley, walnuts, sumac [a purple spice with a lemon taste], extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate sauce. Piyaz consists of white beans and boiled egg with onions, tomato, capsicum, grape vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. The Mediterranean Salad combines greens, grilled eggplant, tomatoes and black olives with feta cheese and lemon vinaigrette. A simple Iceberg Salad has tuna chunks, corn and dill added.
Hot Starters include a perfect lentil soup, Ezogelin, red lentils with cracked wheat, tomato and herbs, a Casserole of Shrimps with tomato, onion and capsicum is topped with mozzarella cheese and the Mushroom Casserole uses shiitake mushrooms. Traditional Turkish Ravioli caught my eye, how could it be that different? It certainly is; miniature balls of pasta, no bigger than a pea, stuffed with a fine mince of beef and lamb, very unusual!
Whilst hidden in the back of the menu the 'Turkish Pizzas' are also perfect small hot starters. Lahmacun is quite incredible, paper thin bread topped with finely minced lamb, tomato and onion. You place fresh parsley leaves on top [soft fragrant Asian parsley leaves vastly different to the variety found in the west] and squeeze the lemon all over, the result is a tasty entrée not to be missed. In the same section the Kasarli Pide is a small flat boat-shaped piece of Turkish bread topped with tangy mozzarella.
The mains contain many 'kebabs' but what most people think of as a 'kebab' is not. Only the Shish Kebab is cooked on a bamboo stick over charcoal, other 'kebab' dishes are just meat cooked in the oven. It can be Lamb, of which the pride of the house [Tulip Kebab] is meat cut from the leg, slowly braised with thyme, served with pilay [rice] and an egg noodle basket of boiled vegetables. The meat is amazingly tender and very rich in flavour. Tenderloin of beef and chicken breast also come in many oven-baked forms. The Chicken Topkapi is a breast that has been stuffed with a herb rice mix.
The Balaban Kebab are actually traditional Turkish meat balls [though in reality round flat patties] from a finely minced combination of lamb and beef, served in rich yoghurt and tomato sauce, Free flow Turkish bread on the side of course, as with all the mains.
And then there are Kebabs, real Shish Kebabs with large cubes of meat [sirloin beef, lamb or chicken] interleaved with slices of capsicum and onion, served with boulgur [a wheat-like grain high in fibre and protein, and low in fat and calories]. All are cooked over charcoal as is their Wagyu Tenderloin
Seafood begins with Jumbo River Prawns, marinated with garlic and pepper before grilling. The Barramundi is steamed in traditional style. Tasmanian Salmon is marinated with sage and garlic, the Snapper in saffron and the Swordfish in coriander, before being grilled.
I get so sick of the normal dessert menus in Bali, virtually a standard list, all the same no matter what cuisine. At last some interesting variations, Pumpkin Ice Cream. Not really although it tastes quite similar. The pumpkin is baked in the oven then pureed with cloves and sugar and finally frozen, served with a caramel sauce, fantastic! Just as good is the Turkish style rice pudding flavoured with cinnamon and gum, served with vanilla ice cream in a spun sugar basket.
Yet another new dining experience for Bali, Tulip is very traditional in its preparation and presentation of true Turkish cuisine, a very welcome addition to our United Nations of Dining!