Pide: What is it exactly that makes a really good pide a really good pide? What is it that compels you to go back to the same place time after time for the same pide with the same toppings?
We've already done a post on Kumsal Pide in Ölü Deniz. Should we find ourselves in those parts and we feel the urge for that lovely Turkish snack, then that's where we head for. As it stays open all year round, there's no getting our hopes up and then getting that awful sinking feeling when we realise it's winter and it's closed. Kumsal will provide a decent pide in our hour of need whatever the season may be.
So, what about if we're in Çalış and the overwhelming urge for a pide takes hold over us (as it has the tendency to do on occasion)? We head here:
Akdeniz Pide Restaurant just on the right of the roundaboutOn Barış Manço Bulvarı, about 10 minutes' walk from Calış Beach is the almost unnoticeable Akdeniz Restaurant. We can't speak for the rest of the food - we've never tried it - but their pide...well, is it the best? It's definitely up there. We went again a few days ago and it's just consistently fabulous.
Akdeniz kuşbaşılı pideWe're fully aware that one person's fabulous pide is another's disappointing rubbish, so what is it that we find so satisfying about the Akdeniz Pide? Well, we always plump for the kuşbaşılı pide. (I almost annoy myself with my mental inability to entertain a different topping but kuşbaşılı is just so good!) 'Kuşbaşı' is small chunks of meat; usually beef or lamb.
On a decent pide, this meat must be good quality and tender but with a a little bit of bite. Finely chopped peppers, onions and parsley should be complemented with a good dose of chilli flakes (when we ask for them - which we always do). But, all this can go completely pear-shaped if the base is not as the base should be. For us, the perfect pide base should be freshly baked, thin and crispy but wide enough to fill you up. Nothing worse than a floppy, greasy pide as far as we're concerned. You should be able to pick up each little strip with your hands, without having to resort to your knife and fork because all your toppings are sliding off, onto your plate.
The owner / pide chef at Akdeniz produces a kuşbaşılı pide that matches all of our above criteria. It's loaded with meat (as you can see in the photo), chillies are brought on a separate plate so we can add more as and when and it's only 7 lira for each pide. Not bad at all!