Zigana Turkish Kitchen (generally known as Ziganas) is a popular Turkish restaurant and takeaway in Didcot.
Although we eat their takeaways from time to time it’s a long time since I’ve been for a sit down meal. What did we think?
We booked late, about an hour before our visit. When we arrived we were shown to our table, which was situated in a nook with one other table (initially empty, but soon filled).
The restaurant was full and lively, with a couple of larger groups so I was glad to be seated away from the main action. The takeaway part was busy too, with a stream of people coming in for collections.
I liked the decoration – plain walls adorned with a variety of, presumably Turkish, artefacts. Tables and chairs were wooden, adorned with simple white place settings.
The restaurant offers a large selection of mixed meze and hot appetisers. It’s possible to choose a meal solely from the meze menu. Cold options include hummus, dolmas, chachik (yoghurt), shakshuka (aubergine) and potato salad. All cold meze are vegetarian. Hot appetisers include grilled halloumi, falafel, calamari and grilled sucuk (spicy sausage). There are descriptions on the menu for all of these options in case you’re not sure what they are.
Alternatively you can choose the traditional main meal, which is usually meat, cooked on the grill, with added sauces. Examples include lamb or chicken shish, chicken beyti and lamb kofte. If you’re part of a group you might like to choose a barbecue platter, which offers a variety of lamb and chicken dishes. Vegetarians have less choice with main meals, the only options on my visit were vegetable guvec or a halloumi or falafel wrap.
Lastly, there are two options for dessert, baklava or sutlac (Turkish rice pudding).
We started with shared hummus and bread. The bread was fantastic and I could have eaten it all night. The hummus was good too, although be aware it’s a lumpier version than the smooth ones you get in pots from Sainsburys. (Presumably fresher and more authentic too).
For the main meal, I had vegetable guvec. This is a mixture of aubergine, peppers, courgettes and mushrooms baked in a tomato sauce and covered with cheese. Whilst this sounds a little like ratatouille it’s much richer and gutsier, very tasty. It was also incredibly hot and I burnt my mouth so watch out!
My partner had yogurtlu lamb shish, which was grilled lamb in a tomato sauce with yoghurt. He said the lamb was cooked well, and the tomato sauce and yogurt provided a good contrast to each other. Main meals are served with rice or chips and a small bowl of salad. I was too full to finish it all, probably due to the amount of bread I consumed.
Neither dish was spicy, although my dish had a large barbecued chilli on it which I gave to the other half to eat. He said it wasn’t very hot, but he often says that about spicy dishes so I’m not sure he can be believed!
Drinks wise, my partner had a Turkish coffee, served with a piece of Turkish Delight. Turkish coffee is way too strong for me but he enjoyed it. On the other hand, I had a ‘normal’ coffee, which was actually pretty poor (tasted like instant Nescafé).
Cold meze dishes are £4.45 each; you can have a selection of any four for £12.95. Hot appetisers are generally 50p more expensive than their cold counterparts. Again, you could have a selection of hot appetisers; two pieces of every appetiser cost £14.75.
Main meals cost around £12-£14. Barbecue platters cost £44-£59 which sounds expensive but these serve two-five people.
Service was great, watchful but not obtrusive. We were given the right amount of time to make our menu choices, plates were cleared promptly when required and the waitresses checked back to ensure we were happy with the food and whether we needed anything else.
If you’re tipping, be aware that it’s not possible to add a tip on if you pay by card. Make sure you have some spare cash!
Overall, a great visit. I wouldn’t have the coffee again but everything else was excellent.
Address: 32 Wantage Road, Didcot, OX11 0BT.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday lunch 12 noon – 3pm, dinner 3-10 pm.
Food hygiene rating: 5 star, as of January 2020.
Further info from the Zigana’s website.