Günaydın isn’t just a culinary gift to the soul of a meat lover, it’s a feast that takes you to the depths of a food coma and then wakes you up with a punch of mind-boggling flavour. Co-founded by Turkey’s legendary Chef Cüneyt Asan, often referred to as the ‘Professor of Meat’ and known as the fastest butcher in the world, Günaydın sits comfortably overlooking the dazzling Dubai fountain.
The food journey begins as soon as you enter the restaurant, where you pass by their private butcher shop, followed by the open kitchen with meat sizzling away to make way for some dramatic mist. It’s a brightly lit place; perhaps too bright.
Our meal begins with a forgettable salad, Gavurdagi Salatasi, dressed in an unforgettable Pomegranate dressing. Often taken for granted in most places, Günaydın masters its cold mezzes to captivate you right at the beginning. The Turkish Humus, the Acili Ezme and the Muhammara stood their ground, served with perfectly warm and fresh Turkish bread.
But what truly stole the show was the unbelievably flavourful Panço (Fried Potatoes with Eggplant, Yoghurt and Garlic). It was in a league of its own.
Next came a popular Turkish favourite, Lahmacun – Turkish style Pizza with ground, seasoned Lamb. It might just have been meat on thin, crispy bread but it exceeded expectations in texture and taste.
Lahmacun – Turkish style Pizza
Before we move on to the main course, allow me to indulge in a mini soliloquy. In this meat lover’s paradise, you don’t just get perfectly seared meat served on the table with a simple garnish or embellishment. It gets the respect it deserves with theatrics that do the eyes service as much as it does to one’s taste buds. For instance, their Döner. Beef strips drenched in sizzling olive oil and a dash of tomato paste, this dish draws more flavour out of the meat than one could imagine to be possible. Wrap it up in thin, soft bread, add some pickles, sprinkle some sea salt based spice mix and voilà! you’ll be mmmm-ing your way to culinary bliss.
Straight from the grill, the medium-rare Lokum Beef Fillet was made to impress. It was juicy, flavourful and made to perfection. Next came the sizzling Rib Eye Steak, searing on a hot plate, coyly teasing your taste buds. The impeccable pink meat established right away that this one was going to be a winner. Tender, luscious and rather impressive.
Rib Eye Steak
Just when one thought that we were past the climax, they brought out the pièce de résistance - the Adana Kebap. Char grilled to perfection, this dish managed to steal the show in every aspect. It was delicious with the perfect texture, wrapped in a thin, soft bread accompanied by seasoned onions, grilled tomato and a sprinkle of sea salt.
We end the meal with a Havuc Dilimi, the Turkish Baklava served with Vanilla ice-cream. It wrapped up an extra-ordinary experience in a fitting manner. I might have remembered to pass my compliments on to the chef but I was at a loss for words. After all, I’d just had the best meal of the year.