"Eto talaga ang original na Turkish Disco!" my friend Anna quipped once we set foot in Argos, a newly-opened Turkish restaurant deep in the heart of Burgos last Friday night, April 20th.
Disclaimer: It's not really a disco, we just really like this song.
See, around the same time in April, my friends and I have this ritual where we get together and hang out, enjoying the last remaining days of summer. The same time last year, we were in Sagada, enjoying the fresh mountain air and the Best Yoghurt On Earth at Yoghurt House. While we're trying to make it a yearly thing to go out of town, the Vacation Gods were not on our side, so we decided to explore what Manila had to offer instead. Our wanderings took us to Argos, which turned out to be a very interesting experience.
In keeping with my hole-in-the-wall theme, Argos, is literally a hole-in-the-wall. You can't miss it though, because its decor calls to mind a little haven in the Mediterranean. Named after a city in Greece, Argos caters mainly to the expatriate set that frequents Burgos. The blue and white motif is easy on the eyes, and little touches such as tiled tables and handmade ceramic napkin holders make the diner feel as if she or he is really in Turkey.
I would cart off this table if I could, because it is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS. It even matches my tattoo!
The imagery of the Turkish Evil Eye fascinates me so much I decided to get it inked on my skin. This is my tattoo with my friend PG's evil eye bracelet. But I digress.
Remember how I lamented over my last plate of hummus at another restaurant? Well, this is probably the best hummus (P125) I've had in awhile. Next to the stuff my mom makes, this one takes the cake because it's perfectly garlicky, chunky (just the way I like it), and has a mysterious middle eastern spice I can't quite put my finger on (I'm guessing it's coriander).
The Sarma Cabbage Dolma (P150) reminded me of a cultural offshoot of Italy's lasagna, or our very own lumpia. These little cabbage rolls were stuffed with the softest ground beef, bathed in tomato sauce and a large helping of yoghurt on top.
One thing about Argos: They don't mess around with their yoghurt. Most Persian joints tend to put mayonnaise (shudder) in their sauce, or over-season it with garlic. Here, it's 100% pure, unadulterated yoghurt. To the Filipino palate that is more accustomed to garlic sauce, it might come as a surprise, but a very delicious one.
Anna opted for the Large Pita Wrap (P180), with onions, sans veggies. I wouldn't recommend scrapping the veggies, because it takes away from the overall experience of the shawarma wrap. It's good to eat if you're in the mood for a wrap, but in my opinion, you'll get better value for what D and I ordered.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Shawarma with Rice (P240). I must admit that I was expecting a lot less than this. In fact, I just stared at it for a few minutes before actually digging in. Here you have a generous portion of seasoned, shredded beef, with the lettuce, onions, fresh tomatoes and cucumber, with a serving of special Turkish Rice. As an added bonus, the Shawarma with Rice comes with a side of hummus, a tomato salad, and couscous.
To use the Tagalog word: PANALO. PURE WIN.
This was an unguarded moment. It was THAT good.
For all you boozehounds out there, Argos Mini Bar has a pretty impressive drink selection, in case you want to get your drink on after or during dinner.
For dessert, we shared a slice of Cukulatali Kek (P120). By that time we were so full that it took all the strength we had to finish it. It was a spongy, not-so-sweet chocolate cake that was a perfect compliment to our amazing meal. What a wonderful way to cap off our April 20 celebration!
You best believe I'm coming back to Argos for more Turkish food loving, and bringing more people with me!
Argos Mini Bar is located at Prime Citadel Inn, Burgos Street, Poblacion, Makati.