The dining options in Found 158 grows ever more impressive. You can expect to see us looping back to this spot quite bit in the coming months. This time we look at Pera, a Turkish restaurant we'll also be returning to time and time again.
Unlike Pasha, which is rather large, the atmosphere here is intimate and laid back with mosaic walls, lounge tables, long communal bar seats and tasteful benches. The traditional soundtrack and mood lighting add to its character, also making it a good date night spot.
The menu is huge and includes a lot of signatures from Pasha—flatbreads, starters and meaty mains of shish kebabs, lamb chops and doner platters. Pera, however, picks up where Pasha leaves off with a lot more seafood. To start, we like the Levrek Marine (RMB58). This cold sea bass dish isn't much too look at, but it's must-try. Tender fillets are served in a zesty mustard, lemon and balsamic sauce.
A lighter option is the Ahtapot Salatasi (RMB68), chunks of octopus in light olive oil and pickle juice with dill, lemon and gherkins. It's best enjoyed between mouthfuls of their fresh complimentary buns. The Bade Sefasi (RMB48) is a comforting dish of mashed potato and carrot with pickles and dill, served with yogurt.
For hot starters, the Kalamar Tava (RMB68) presents a generous portion of plump, fried calamari with tartare sauce.
We also recommend the Etli Yaprak Dolmasi (RMB68). It's a delicacy we’ve come tolove, and, like the Levrek Marine is way tastier than it looks. It takes pillowy rice, minced meat and spices and wraps it in grape leaves, and ladled with fresh, tangy yogurt.
The Kalamar Dolma (RMB68) is an eye-popper—a whole grilled squid stuffed with mozzarella cheese and parsley. Slicing into this beauty releases the molten cheese. The grilled flesh is nicely charred and the richness complemented by pomegranate sauce.
For mains, the Kuzu Sis (RMB115), lamb shish kebabs, are so fragrant and musky, you’d swoon at its scent. The mince is juicy and heady with spices. Like most platters, it comes with a delicious serving of seasoned mixed rice. Like most platters here, it comes with boring helping of vegetables and baby potatoes. They feel like an unnecessary afterthought and could be swapped out with something that actually matches the flavors of the dish. We also like the Sea Bass (RMB168), but the pan-fried fillets lack the same oomph as its deliciously chunky babaganoush base.
For dessert, the Fırın Sütlaç (RMB38) is a tiny but potent portion of baked rice pudding. It's cold, milky and not too sweet—a welcome end to a hearty meal.
All told, Pera's service is friendly and food, particularly the cold starters, are quick to arrive despite a busy room. And, truth be told, their starters are much more exciting than many of the mains of offer here. You could make a fine meal of just those, and that's reason enough to go.
Address: Found 158, 158 Julu Lu (near Ruijin Yi Lu) 巨鹿路158号 (近瑞金一路)
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