Don’t worry: the TURKEY PROJECT sign you see while driving in to Defence Colony is not Erdoğan’s new back office: it’s just a tribute to the light bird meat, which is curiously called hindi in Turkish. We couldn’t find the right historian to tell us more, but clearly the Ottomans were making some intriguing avian-linguistic cultural links long before this spot opened.
Last evening, we discovered the DELIVERY PROJECT, a purported wing of the Turkey Project. Although the menu online didn’t tell us much, we decided to give them a call. The Friendly Voice on the line told us politely that the ‘delivery project’ organ is cut off from the main body; the bird was curbing its flying ambitions. Gently, however, he assured us that our residence would be within their flight path. His enviable ease almost hinted that if we wanted, we could even call the bird by another name. ‘Sweetie,’ we contemplated.
The same friendly voice also named the pizzas and burgers on this menu. There’s a feather-in-the-cap fun to a lot of the food, which continues the theme of migration, imagined and real: there’s a dish called ‘prawns on vacation,’ and another called ‘about a summer in Sicily’ - for, you know, the handful of us who alas, can’t be there right now. Less for the lust of an Italian holiday, and more to reward his sense of humour, we order this Mediterranean pie and a Lamb Merguez pizza (Friendly Voice complements us on taste for this). Even nicer, he seals the conversation by assuring us that there will be no follow-up phone calls. We relax, as instructed.
The pizzas and a Greek salad arrive at our doorstep at 8 sharp, as promised. Refreshingly, but also weirdly, there is no branding – no boxes covered in plumage, forget napkins studded with beaks. Just white boxes that look like your chef friend has bought you something from work in exchange for a place to kip in your flat.
The pies are delightfully thin and just the right amount of crispy: though they’ve flown quite a bit for a Turkey, and demand to be eaten immediately, they don’t bear many scars from travel. We appreciate the powerful sumac on the lamb merguez, validating the meaty promise Friendly made over the phone. The Sicily vacation is also definitely good enough to polish, but not quite transporting in the same way. And curbing imagination is essential when it comes to the Greek Salad, which is really a bunch of decently fresh iceberg in a too-light flirtation with some namesake feta and a suggestion of black olives.
If this was indeed a flight, we’d be passengers on our way to Italy, but on a unpredictably long stopover in Istanbul. The baritone pilot does a lot to distract; we’d take this trip on a day we don’t need serious wind beneath our wings.
Getting there: The Delivery Project, Defence Colony, call 33105856. Rs. 1,200 for two pizzas and a salad.
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