I’m an old-fashioned girl. I like my VB cold and my tablecloths washable. Alas, every damn restaurant I walk into nowadays is just too cool for proper napkins and linen – it’s either funky, bare table tops, or crappy plain surfaces with some paper serviettes plonked down. Unless potato scallops and battered sav are on the menu, it irritates me.
Imagine my delight then, when I sat down at Mado in South Bank and saw a large yellow napkin on the plate in front of me, both on top of a proper tablecloth. “Proper napkins!” I sang, waving the little cloth happily in the face of my partner. I needn’t have worried about embarrassing myself – the space at Mado is large and can seat up to 250, both inside and out. Inside is very cosy and decorated in traditional Turkish designs – think warm colours, traditional ornaments on the walls, and big bench seats with large cushions. The said bench seats and the banquet dinner options make the place ideal for groups, but it’s also intimate enough for two (ooh la la).
Mado is fully licensed, but you can BYO bottled wine. Not sure about bags of Fruity Lexia though. Food-wise, we decided to share a Mixed Mezze Platter ($15.50), and a Lamb Pide (Turkish pizza, $21.90). The waitress was happy to bring them out both at once, and they arrived in a very short time. The Mezze Platter held little dishes of olives, roasted capsicum, fetta cubes, and artichoke hearts. A basket crammed with warm Turkish bread came with it, which was impressive – ever suffered the too much dip, not enough bread syndrome? No chance of that happening here. Speaking of dip, the Mezze Platter could have benefitted with a little dish of it in place of a vegie serve.
The generously-sized Pide was packed with tender lamb mince and fresh herbs, and was really tasty. A dab of some sort of yoghurt sauce would have contrasted nicely though.
We didn’t have dessert there (we are Cold Rock fiends and there is one just nearby), but I really regret it now-the cabinet was brimming with rows of fresh little baklavas. The cheeky things were gleaming with honey, begging me to have a nibble. If glaze isn’t your thing, there’s also fresh turkish delight, ice cream, cakes, and pudding (from $2.90).
Service was very friendly and swift. We were even offered some complimentary Turkish tea after we paid the bill, which was a sweet touch. The tea was quite refreshing and was a pleasant sweet end to the meal.
Turkish and Mediterranean food is quite ‘in’ and trendy at the moment, but Mado has a distinct point of difference in that they seem like a genuine Turkish-run, Turkish-owned restaurant. The menu is more extensive than others, and seems to be more value for money. Touches like proper place settings, a family atmosphere, and belly dancing make this place something that isn’t so homogenized.
Mado Cafe & Restaurant
Shops 1, 2, and 3 Galleria Apts
15 Tribune St
South Bank map
07 3844 7111
Open Tuesday – Sunday