The expansive cuisine of Turkey goes way beyond just kebabs and takes in Middle Eastern and central Asian influences. In addition to being the refined product of centuries of experience, Turkish Cuisine has a very pure quality. The variety and simplicity of the recipes and the quality of the ingredients are guarantees of delicious meals.

Turkish cuisine is particularly famous for it’s wide selection of appetizers and starters or ‘mezze’. When I say appetizer or starter, I don’t mean a small dish before served before the main meal. I’m referring to several rounds of delectable hot and cold treats that often end up being the main attraction, as was the case at the Gem of Kent.

We were treated to the first round of ‘mezze’ which are always cold selections, and included Humus, Bakla (broad beans marinated in olive oil, served with yoghurt, Dolma (stuffed vine leaves) and my personal favourite Patlican Soslu (fried aubergine in a special garlic tomato sauce). This was followed by a second round of hot mezze all of which were absolutely delicious.

The Turkish wine industry has been making a great deal of progress in recent years. The region was famed in ancient Greek times for the quality of its grapes and wine, and there is now a great profusion of very drinkable Turkish wines on the market. Owner and chef Ahmet recommended the Villa Doluca from the extensive wine menu, a dry red made with grapes from the Eastern Anatolia - the perfect accompaniment to meat dishes.

The mezze alone were extremely filling and it was a struggle to finish our main course which was the Gem of Kent Mixed Grill Platter, an enormous dish of, lamb shish, lamb ribs and cutlets, lean chunks of chicken and marinated chicken wings, served with rice and salad.

All the food is incredibly fresh and is made using only the finest ingredients; and with three set menus as well as a comprehensive list of hot and cold mezze, main courses, specials and sides there’s something for all tastes and appetites.

The staff were efficient, welcoming and friendly and although the atmosphere is a little quiet at lunchtime, I am assured it is positively buzzing at the weekends.

We left promising ourselves a return visit with our family and friends. This restaurant really is a ‘gem’.

Address:
Gem of Kent
62-63 High Street
Maidstone
Kent ME14 1SR

Tel: 01622 675000
www.gemofkent.co.uk

 


© Verve Magazine (Kent) Ltd, Suite 159, 5 Liberty Square, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4AU