A family-run Turkish joint with rock-bottom prices and home cooked food. Photos by Fred Wissink.
New Turkish restaurant Berru is slightly out of the way on the long expanse of Tran Nao Street on the southern side of the highway in District 2. However, it is still a short hop from Thao Dien and with the opening of the Thu Thiem Tunnel linking District 2 to downtown Saigon, it is well placed to take advantage of the increased passing traffic.
It is truly a family operation with the sons working the floor and mum in the kitchen whipping up traditional Turkish fare, while dad comes in the evening to take charge of the doner rotisseries. The restaurant sits in a pleasant courtyard with water features along one wall providing a soothing soundtrack.
Berru gets underway early and has some interesting options to start the day including the Turkish breakfast (75,000 VND) of tomatoes, cheese, olives and bread. This can be washed down with the wickedly rich Turkish coffee (25,000 VND large/15,000 VND small).
We start with a plate of menemen (40,000 VND), diced tomatoes, onions and green peppers mixed with a couple of eggs. It is delicious sopped up with flat bread and is outrageously good value considering the size of the plate.
Next up is a shish kebab (150,000 VND) with perfectly seasoned cubes of beef. A chicken version is also available for 120,000 VND. I’m hankering for an old-school doner or chicken kebab (150,000 VND a plate/80,000 VND on bread), but as these are only available after 6pm I will have to make a return trip.
Instead we try the roasted green pepper (50,000 VND), which is filled with rice, onions, tomatoes and spices. Along with this arrives a plate of vine-leaf wrapped dolmades accompanied by fresh yoghurt for dipping. At only 50,000 VND for 10 pieces, it is certainly a bargain.
To finish, we try something lighter in the form of the Russian salad and patlican ezme, a traditional Turkish salad made from eggplant. Both are excellent but it is the latter that is really a standout. In texture it is like a lighter baba ganoush, the pureed eggplant and yoghurt is redolent with garlic and really brightened with a touch of lemon juice.
There is a lovely family atmosphere at Berru, the service is prompt and friendly and of course the food is what you would expect from a great Turkish home cook. And given the rock-bottom prices, it is definitely worth seeking out.