It’s early Sunday evening. We just spent the morning at church and the afternoon with friends enjoying lunch together. The child is playing hide and seek outside with our next door neighbours and the husband is taking a nap. It’s just me in the living room with the computer and the internet.
The sun had almost set, when I come across Hakiki Turkish Ice Cream. It’s an ice cream parlour that opened two years ago in Newtown – a suburb in Sydney’s inner west frequented by students and artists. As well as ice cream, the shop offers Turkish coffee and tea, baklava, Turkish delights, pomegranate juice and more.
They tell me Turkish ice cream was created in the 1600s in a region called Kahramanmaras. They tell me that it has a different texture because of salep, the dried powdered root of orchids they incorporate in the dessert to give it that sticky, stretchy quality.
I was tempted. I wanted to try their ice cream, drink their coffee and taste their baklava. There was a few hours before dinner time. I had time to visit the place. So I went.
I walk into the small shop and I order a pomegranate and raspberry ice cream, their original Turkish coffee and a baklava. The place is dimly lit and warm. I find a place in the corner and sit. There is a deep bass to the music that’s coming from the speakers and I see a young woman in a hijab bop along to it with her friend, smiling. She’s there with family it seems, enjoying dessert after their evening meal. It makes me smile. I don’t know why.
My ice cream is delicious. It is indeed stretchy and sticky. It feels gummy, but is cold, sweet and smooth. I wait for the coffee and baklava. As I wait a family comes in and finds a spot next to me. The mum’s in a hijab too and is trying to wrangle a cute but active toddler. The dad asks me if the seat opposite me is taken. I smile and shake my head. He takes it for his family.
The coffee arrives with a small piece of turkish delight and a small glass of water. I have no idea the order I’m supposed to drink it, but I just wing it. The baklava arrives just before it. I sip the coffee. It’s strong and bitter. The baklava isn’t drenched in honey and isn’t as sweet as expected. I polish off the coffee, pop the Turkish delight in my mouth and wash down its burst of sweetness with the water. Delicious.
I try to mind my own business, but I can’t help liking this place. It’s more than the desserts and the great coffee. From the laughing young women enjoying the music, to the family beside me enjoying their food, it felt good to see people having a nice time on a Sunday night. I wished my family was here. Maybe next time I’ll be more insistent.