The Turkish lights falling like coloured waterfalls from the roof glimmer in multi-coloured splendour and the smoky aromas of grilling meat waft around the room - a little bit of Turkey has come to Barrow! But how did it get here? Well, it’s thanks to the Caglar family. They’ve been involved in the take-away business for a long time as they began in Besiktas, a town just south of Istanbul, where they still operate a Burger King franchise. However, the family’s first Turkish take-away in England was in Leicester’s Church Gate in the late 1990s.
I learnt this from Okan Caglar, who is managing the Barrow BBQ Kitchen with a degree in Business and Management behind him. When thinking about where to establish their next operation he considered factors such as gaps in the market, demographics and village expansion. His father, who had set up in Church Gate, had a simpler method. He stood opposite the Co-Op and counted passing cars. There were so many in an hour he knew there would be a good demand!
There are two Istanbul BBQ Kitchens as there’s a partner operation in Wigston, and Barrow’s is built on the same successful business plan. This is to concentrate on very fresh savoury dishes. These are the chicken and lamb shish-kebabs and adana - minced lamb – with a range of starters, salads and sides. All the food is prepared daily on the premises - nothing frozen is ever used - and any kebabs left at the end of the evening are thrown away. Alcohol isn’t on sale but you are welcome to bring your own wine and beer.
Okan has been delighted with the village’s response to the new restaurant. Although they printed a lot of flyers initially he knows much of their business has been the result of word of mouth. He feels everyone in Barrow knows everyone else! Is he right?
But to end on a serious note: please park in the car-park opposite or at the side of the restaurant after 5pm when the dental practice is closed. Parking on the single yellow line causes snarl-ups. (See restaurant review below).
Review: Istanbul BBQ Kitchen
One Sunday night, we popped down the High Street to try out the latest dining experience in Barrow, the ‘Istanbul BBQ Kitchen’ - a combination of "in" or "out" dining. Having pre-booked, we had an uncluttered "in-house" experience. The interior is smart and clean with restrooms and diners will be offered complimentary dips and pitta bread while choosing from the menu, which you can find online as well. These diners settled for the hot meze starter and wraps: does not sound much, but this was not a meal, it was a feast!
You can fall into the trap of ordering too much, which makes a change, because the portions are generous, freshly cooked and served promptly. OK, it will be different when busier.
Points to note: dining-in carries a slightly higher charge than take-away and there is a cover charge for bringing in your own alcohol, but soft drinks are available. The restaurant does not take cards at the moment and I would recommend you pre-book on the busy weekend periods if dining in.
Go on Trip Advisor and check out customer reports. Cost wise, the evening was very competitive for the amount of food we received and the staff were friendliness personified, with time for a chat.
If you’re picking up a take-away, park opposite in the Co-op, not outside; enjoy whichever experience you choose and hear the friendly, ‘Tesekkür ederim’ (thank you) as you leave.
Epicure of Barra