Restaurant Review:
O'Doner

Golden Mile Galleria Mall, Palm Jumeirah 

  
We had a really fun tasting session at O’Döner, a new Turkish restaurant that recently opened its doors at the Golden Mile 1 Galleria, Palm Jumeirah.  O’Döner prides itself on sourcing out the most authentic ingredients for its food, ranging from traditional spices to the meat and chicken used; everything is fresh and obtained from their places of origin in the different parts of Turkey.  The quaint little joint boasts of a story too that goes as follows: In a little town called Bursa in the late 19th Century, there originated one of the world’s most popular culinary delicacies -The Iskender Döner, a kind of döner kebab, that is placed vertically and seared slowly to perfection. The meat is served in thin slices on the top of fresh Pita Bread, basted in tomato sauce and lavishly dressed with butter and served with yogurt. Throngs of people used to flock to Bursa to indulge in this Meaty Masterpiece. The founder of O’Döner travelled all the way to quaint little Bursa and sought to bring the Döner experience out to the world.

Lemon with Mint

Pomegranate Juice

Our meal began with some refreshing drinks (we had the Lemon-mint, Green Apple and Pomegranate ones but honestly it was the Lemon-mint that captured our senses, even more so because of the heat setting in). Along with the drinks, delicious Turkish delights were placed on our table thereby lending a sweet beginning to our indulgent meal. Then, the salads, Veal Doner, Chicken Doner and Rocca were brought to our table. We feasted on the latter two options and the Chicken Doner emerged triumphant (although both were brilliant). The chicken on the salad was cooked to perfection and made for the perfect flavorful addition to the fresh vegetables.
  

  
Now time for the mains!

This part of the meal commenced with the vegetarian options; O’Döner falafel topped with delicious, special tahini sauce and a splendid fresh salad on the top of freshly baked Pita bread which came with a variety of sides including Onion Rings, cheesy jalapeno bites and thin cut French Fries. Honestly the falafel on its own was sufficient and the sides, while tasty, were neither a Turkish fit nor added any value to the meal. We then enjoyed the Kashar Peynirli Pide which comprised of Zucchini, tomato, eggplant, red capsicum, and one of my favorites, Kashkaval cheese!
  

As the founder had mentioned during his interaction with us, the bread was gluten-free and freshly baked, we wouldn’t get full too fast and this was true. We had enough room for what lay in store for us next; the DONERS!

We had the famous 1 meter long Doners (that had us squealing with excitement for their appearances alone) in Meat and Chicken options! The diverse Doners were filled with Lettuce, cabbage, tomato, onions with some uniquely garnished with chili salsa, dill aioli & herbs cocktail sauce while others with walnut pomegranate, feta and chili salsa sauce! A proper treat to your taste buds, we loved the one with walnut pomegranate. This wasn’t the end though as the Chicken Iskender then arrived. Now, Iskender has been one of our favorite Turkish food items and we remember eating a lot of it and never getting over it on our trips to Istanbul. The Iskender Doner at O’Döner is prepared with delicious meat OR chicken basted with the O’Döner Iskender Tomato Butter sauce, served on freshly baked Turkish Pita with yogurt on the side. Devouring this was delightful and we cannot wait to return just for this item.
  


  
With the mains done and dusted, you guessed it right, Dessert o’clock!

Needless to say, we were extremely excited about this part of the meal. Even before the session began we were conjuring up images of Baklavas and Dondurmas (Turkish Ice Cream) especially as the entrance of the restaurant features a Dondurma cart. So, for dessert we had the following:

  • O’Döner’s Famous Ottoman Kunefe: A turkish delicacy prepared with a filling of melted unsalted cheese, doused in sugar syrup

  • O’Döner’s Antep Baklava: An authentic Gaziantep Baklava made of layers of filo filled with rich pistachios and Vanilla Ice Cream​ Turkish Ice Creams in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors
  


  
Absolutely LOVED the Baklava filled with Ice Cream, it was rich and wonderful! The Kunefe on the other hand was on the drier side, less sugary and not cheesy enough. The Vanilla Dondurma though was spot on and I was hit with memories of Istanbul, slurping on these delicious treats with a view of the Bosphorus. As is customary of every Turkish meal, this one too culminated with cups of Turkish tea and coffee. To sum up, we enjoyed O’Döner’s amalgam of authentic, fresh, tasty food (definitely preferred some items over others) coupled with an enjoyable ambiance and good service.