Nar Cafe & Bistro
2540 Windsor Road
For those of you that know me, you know my love for all that is Turkish. I love the food, the language, the people, and the history. I was stoked that Victoria is offering Turkish fare in a somewhat obscure location( Oak Bay). You can get to Nar by going down Oak Bay Ave, turning right on Monterrey, and then left onto Windsor Rd.
Nar rests within a heritage building, with a small attached cafe, and two floors of seating. The view contains the park and the intersection. It’s a cute space, with minimal decor and a warm feeling. A few people have recommended that I check Nar out, so today was the day.
I met up with the lovely JB, and we brought our hunger to the upstairs level of the bistro. We both started with some Nar tea (pomegranate flavour). We were informed that the lunch special had already sold out (by 1:00?), so JB went for the daily sandwich and carrot soup($9.50), and I took our servers advice for the beef and leek borek with a bowl of red lentil soup($10.75).
Our server suggested that I squeeze some lemon into the red lentil soup to add some extra oomph, and she was right. The soup was almost a puree of lentils, with great spices and herbs, and a beautiful brightness. I make borek at home, but this dough was very different than the type I make. It was more of a phyllo style, with crisp edges and a soft almost eggy texture on the bottom due to the filling. The beef and leek filling blew my mind, it was an absolute winner. JB’s carrot soup was delicious, with some fresh dill and a few flavours which were exotic and tricked my palate. Unfortunately, the sandwich JB ordered was a let-down. The bread was nothing special, the turkey was processed lunch meat, and the lettuce, tomato and cucumber were a pedestrian touch. I poked fun at him for ordering a turkey sandwich at a Turkish restaurant, but if I could give Nar any advice, I would take the sandwich off the menu. I figure it is there for people who don’t want to jump off on a culinary adventure, but if you are going to have a sandwich on the menu, amp it up. Use some more Turkish fillings, like some eggplant or some feta crumble inside, maybe a yoghurt dressing instead of mayonnaise, etc.
On the way out, I grabbed a baklava to go, which I was surprised to find hazelnuts in, pleasantly surprised. I’ve had baklava with pistachios, walnuts, and almonds, but I enjoyed the Canadian twist with hazelnuts.
Overall, I would go back to Nar for dinner, albeit more expensive, I believe from my lunch experience, the flavours will deliver! The borek is among the best I’ve tasted, and both the soups were great, çok güzel!