Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter is welcoming exciting new restaurant Feriza’s to the neighbourhood soon. The venue will bring a splash of Ottoman opulence to the waterfront, with an emphasis on shared dining, and modern twists on dishes the Ottoman region is famous for.
The restaurant is a gift from restauranteur, Alex Isik, to his elder sister Feriza. Feriza helped her brother achieve his goal of travelling to New Zealand from Turkey, enabling him to forge a life for himself within Auckland’s hospitality industry. Feriza remained in Turkey to earn enough for her own ticket to join Alex in Auckland where she has made her mark as a talented chef.
“The restaurant was the perfect way to say thank you, and to express my love and gratitude,” explains Alex. “Feriza’s is the result of our twenty years creating Ottoman dishes together, inspired by our grandmother’s cookbook.”
Gozleme will be one of the stars of Feriza’s menu. This traditional dish is the first thing that their mother taught them to cook – and is what ignited Alex and Feriza’s passion for cooking.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Aucklanders falling in love with this dish just like Alex and I did when we first tasted it in Turkey,” smiles Feriza. “We believe Auckland is ready for a taste of the Ottoman, and a warm, Turkish welcome. We want everyone to feel like family when they walk through the doors. I want our guests to feel at home, and as satisfied as we did eating our grandmother’s food.”
Alongside the mezze-focused menu, an extensive drinks list will be available. This will include cocktails inspired by the Ottoman, using traditional ingredients, such as pomegranate, Turkish apple and the Middle Eastern spirit Raki. Traditionally enjoyed with dishes to be shared, Raki is all about adding to the dining experience with its drinking etiquette.
“We are excited to share a few Ottoman customs with diners,” says Feriza. “Raki is very Turkish and having people sit around the Mastik Table and learn how to prepare and drink it is a great way to kick off an evening of fun and laughter!”
10 Things You Should Know About Turkish Dining
Dining etiquette for making a toast
If you are the guest of honour, you will be expected to make a toast, usually soon after the host does or at the end of the meal, before everyone leaves.
Dining etiquette for seating
The host sits at the head of the table, with the guest of honour seated next to the host on the side of the table farthest from the door. It is considered bad manners for the guest to leave before midnight as it means you don’t consider your hosts to have done a good job.
In restaurants, you often order each dish as you want it, so that they are not ordered all at once at the beginning of the meal. The idea being that as meals are bought out, you allow time for each dish to be explained, and then shared. Diners must make sure to eat all the food that is on their plates, as it’s considered rude to not finish a plate, with dishes often wiped clean with bread. Always arrive with an empty stomach as it’s best to not refuse second or third helpings.
Dinner’s on me
Turkish hospitality dictates that the host picks up the bill. In fact, the idea of sharing a bill is completely alien in Turkish society. If you offer to pay you will be politely declined. The best idea is to thank your host, then issue a reciprocal invitation.
Don’t put your handbag on the floor
Whether in a crowded restaurant or at home, not only is putting your handbag on the floor considered unhygienic, it’s also bad luck as it will cause all your money to leak away to the ground, or worse yet you’ll end up spending your hard-earned cash on useless or frivolous objects.
Tea & coffee
The most common drink you’ll encounter is Turkish tea, which is similar to hot apple cider and it is offered at any time of the day. Between meals, after a meal, first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Drinking of tea is a social interaction. You’ll notice that when you’ve finished your tea your host will refill your glass. Instead of politely drinking every cup, leave your teaspoon lying across the glass to signal “no more”. Turkish coffee is also popular; it tends to be very strong and unfiltered though so be warned.
To avoid trouble in future, do not hand another person a knife directly. Instead, put the sharp object down and wait for the other person to pick it up — this way, the two people will not become enemies.
There is Hugging, and then There is “Turkish Hugging”
We won’t just put our arms around you, we’ll also pat you on the back, switch cheeks, and repeat the same process once more. Not only do we appreciate you once, but we do it twice.
The Raki, Melon, and Cheese Trifecta
There are just some things that go together and cannot live apart. We are talking about the deep love that exists between raki, cheese, and melon, to a point that eating them alone is almost a crime.
Tapping on the Table With a Glass of Raki
This is for your friends who aren’t there to share that amazing experience with you. Good luck if you have more than 5 friends who couldn’t make it.
Feriza’s will be open all day, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Feriza’s will be located at 7/12 Jellicoe Street, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland.