Our Blog

Turkish Pide – Turkish-style pizza fit for a Sultan

“Rose! You HAVE to come to this restaurant with me, you’d love it!”, said my friend Gen, excitedly last week.

My friends say things like this to me quite a bit, knowing that I get overexcited about trying new restaurants, especially when there is even the slightest of Turkish influences.

The Moor’s Head in Thornbury is famous for Pide. Pide (pronouced ‘pee-day’) is a traditional Turkish/Middle Eastern pizza. The edges of the dough are curled up and the ends twisted to create a canoe-shaped base, which perfectly contains top quality, simple ingredients.

My prawn, chilli and coriander pide was perfect. Gen’s sucuk (spicy Middle Eastern sausage) and haloumi cheese pide also hit the spot. Unlike our over-loaded pizzas in Australia, the Turks stick with the theory that less is more for their pides, and hit the nail on the head.

Turks eat pide for lunch or for a quick, cheap dinner. A standard pide shop will generally offer 3 options to restaurant- goers. Cheese, meat (minced lamb) or cheese and meat. More adventurous pide restaurants will add to their menu with offerings like kusbasi (diced lamb), mushrooms and sausage. Some pide restaurants, in an attempt to cater for tourists, will have round pizza on the menu as well. It’s hard to understand how they can get it so wrong! Pizza in Turkey is generally double the price of a pide, and tastes like it’s a coles, home brand frozen pizza! When in Turkey, do as the Turks do and eat pide.

Part of the joy of a pide is watching them being cooked. The Pideci (pide man) will expertly knead the dough and sprinkle on the toppings before launching them into the wood fired oven on a long wooden oar.

Image

Once the Pideci flips the hot, crunchy pide out of the oven, it’s a flurry of activity as assistants scramble to chop them into pieces and deliver them to tables on long wooden boards, while still fresh from the oven.

Pide definitely isn’t seen on the menu of fine dining establishments. My favourite pide restaurant in Turkey is actually at a petrol station on the drive between Cappadocia and Safranbolu. Definitely an unassuming place for a delicious lunch, people on my tours look at me like I’m nuts, until they see the pide oven (first image in this post)) and taste the delicious pide.

Pide is traditionally washed down with Ayran, a frothy yoghurt drink mixed with salt and water. Sounds awful (I know!) but is delicious with a cheesy pide. While The Moors Head doesn’t have Ayran on the menu, they do offer a selection of Raki, an aniseed liquor which is mixed with water and ice.

I highly recommend eating pide if you see it on the menu in Turkey. You won’t be disappointed. In the meantime, there is The Moors Head. Traditional Turkish pide, friendly service, plus you can get a raki or an efes beer!

The Moors Head

774 High Street Thornbury

Open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday