KAI, Manchester’s newest Turkish dining concept which opened a little over a month ago, is home to a menu of pide (pronounced Pee-Dah) and everyone is talking about them.
A pide is Turkey’s answer to a pizza. It is made in a similar way with hand-stretched dough which is baked in a wood-fired oven, but there are a few key differences between the two.
You can forget about stringy mozzarella and tomato sauce for one. The pide is much more at home with the bright and aromatic flavours of the Middle East. Think tender spinach, black pepper, spiced lamb or tangy cheese instead.
Do not think for a minute that pide is a delicacy or luxury choice by any means. This is the food of the people in Turkey, and something that is cheap and cheerful and usually bought on some street corner to warm you up on a cold day.
Traditional pide is made with dough that is left to rise over 24 hours, which ensures a light, pillowy texture. Chefs traditionally work the dough on marble worktops, wrestling it to make the perfect shape and consistency.
It is then cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven which reaches temperatures up to 300 degrees which means it bakes in minutes and ensures a delicate but chewy crust.
This is the traditional method they chefs over at Kai use to make sure their pide are as authentic as humanly possible to that you would find on the streets of Istanbul.
Unlike many other Middle Eastern flatbreads, pide has its contents on the top (rather than baked into the middle). This is what makes it even more familiar to a pizza, but the interesting flavours and textures of the toppings make the pide experience so much more exciting.
At Kai, you can choose delicious spiced lamb, fragrant chicken, mixed vegetable, feta and spinach or the most traditional of all sujuk (an aromatic and spicy Turkish sausage) which is my personal favourite.
These flatbreads make the perfect addition to any mezze feast and are great for sharing with a few friends and you are going to love them. Pizza – you can officially eat your heart out!
KAI Deansgate, 82-84 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2ER
0161 832 3431