Saray

A Turkish-inspired restaurant at the V&A

Saray transports foodies from their
chairs all the way to Istanbul through
Turkish food, kahve, cay and shisha.
 
Shop G04 Clock Tower Building V&A Waterfront
sarayreservations@gmail.com
Saray
saray_restaurant_ct

A Turkish-inspired restaurant at the V&A

Huge platters, flaming desserts, imported shisha & kids area

Last updated: Thursday, 22 February 2024 

Did you know there’s a palace in the Clock Tower? Saray (“palace” in Turkish), with its handmade mosaic lamps, ornately carved shisha, and delightful Turkish dishes like kebabs and elma cay, is easy to miss amid the towering V&A buildings. Here’s why it’s worth visiting, according to our team.


The location at the V&A Waterfront is convenient for breakfast, lunch, or early dinner after returning from a Robben Island tour. Image: Saray
 

A SHOWCASE OF TURKISH CULTURE

Next to the departure point for the Robben Island ferry sits Saray, situated perfectly outside of the V&A crowds. You’ll recognise it from the red carpet leading you to the front door (all the more to feel like you’re stepping into a palace). 

Saray’s passion for showcasing Turkish culture and food shines through. The head chef comes from Sanliurfa, east Turkey and there are even treats like elma cay (traditional apple tea with hints of lemon).


Saray cooks every dish with traditional spices imported from Turkey. Image: Saray

HANDMADE MOSAIC LAMPS & TURKISH SCENES

Inside, the restaurant is opulent, with sapphire blue and green chairs, plush velvet booths, and walls covered in mosaic tiles. Handmade mosaic lamps (imported from Turkey) reflect colours of azure and turquoise blue, red and emerald green. 

The three TVs display street tours of Turkey: Old buildings like the Anadoluhisari, the Canakkale Martyrs Monument, the Blue Mosque, and the Four Seas.


The Turkish lamps create a warm ambiance in the restaurant. Image: Saray

START WITH BALLOON BREAD AND PIDES

Every table receives complimentary balloon bread. The falafel are perfectly crispy (as you’d expect from a Turkish restaurant). A standout starter is one of the pides, a baked Turkish flatbread stuffed with ingredients like cheese, chicken, beef, or spinach. 

Since Saray is strictly halaal, there’s a long mocktail menu. “You’ll find yourself trying other drinks you wouldn’t normally go for,” says Lara Van Zyl, junior digital editor. “I really liked the passion delight mocktail and the traditional apple tea.”


There are meals for meat lovers and vegans. Image: Saray

FLAMING MAINS & DECADENT GRILLS

The presentation will wow you. Tavuk sis, grilled chunks of chicken fillet, are served from a stainless steel skewer. Karides güveç, shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce, arrives flaming. 

Once you start digging into the mixed grill, a platter for six, “there’s endless layers of cheesy pita, chicken, lamb, steak and köfte,” says Sarah Williams, editorial intern. This too arrives flaming and the lamb shank is slow-cooked for four hours, making it extremely tender. 

Desserts include sutlac (rice pudding made with cinnamon) and kunefe (shredded dough with pistachios and a satisfying cheese pull).


Their meat and grills are on charcoal grills for that smokey taste. Image: Saray

OPULENT SHISHA WITH FRUIT HEADS

“The bar displaying all the shisha pipes is so eye-catching as you walk in,” says Julia Rowley, junior managing editor. “You can easily spot the imported shisha with all the glass, gold, and silver accents.”

Flavours like watermelon, grape, and cappuccino become even more intense with a fruit or ice head (the shisha bowl is cut out of fruit or ice, filled with tobacco and used to inhale).


The roof of the outdoor terrace can open to get rid of the smoke clouds and allow more fresh air. Image: Saray

THEY HOST BIRTHDAYS & FUNCTIONS

With the children’s playground right outside, Saray makes for an ideal family birthday. There’s a set menu for 15 or more people which includes mezes (like hummus and haydari), mains (like the mixed grill platter, beyti sarma or et and tavuk sote, slow-cooked beef and chicken), and baklava. 

You'd be remiss to miss Saray; it’s a hidden jewel of the V&A, where homemade-style food and family service are at the forefront. 

P.S: Remember to have kahve (Turkish coffee) before you leave, served with Turkish delight.


They have an extensive mocktail list, from mojitos and strawberry daiquris to passion delights and orange sours. Image: Saray

VISIT SARAY

Saray Restaurant is open: Daily, 365 days; Monday to Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Friday & Saturday, 11am to 11pm; Sunday, 11am to 11pm (public holidays may differ and the kitchen closes at 10pm)
Find them: Shop G04 Clock Tower Building | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town
Book via: 066 430 3391; 082 868 4210; sarayreservations@gmail.com@saray_restaurant_ct

By Khadeeja Adams

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MORE TO DO IN CAPE TOWN 

Looking for more halaal eateries? Here are halaal restaurants for every taste

Check our guide for shisha lounges in Cape Town.

Stay busy this weekend with our 7+ things to do this week(end).

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