Time to skip the usual introductory pissing about, because with this kebab the picture really does tell the whole story:
Look at that. I mean, look at it. For the interests of fairness, yes, there is a filter on the photo, however it doesn’t mean that this is unauthentic – I just needed to highlight quite how, well, ORANGE the sauce is.
Luckily for Botan, the multi-award winning kebab shop on Berry Street in Liverpool city centre, it’s also very good.
What makes the sauce so orange? Don’t know, don’t care. If I were to guess, cornflour + puréed chillis, but this is merely speculation on my part. What I do know is it is probably the second best kebab sauce I’ve ever had – better than Istanbul in Glasgow, and second only to Havet’s in Bromley (that review to come, ladies and gents). It’s got a spicy kick without being overly powerful, and it was fresh from the buffet tray – not bottled – so it lacked the vinegary taste that you commonly get with chilli sauce.
One does not just rock up in a faraway place and merely order a regular kebab. Oh no. Well, I suppose you could, but where’s the fun in that? It took me all of 5 seconds staring at the menu above the counter to realise that the large mixed kebab was the order of the day, and for £8 or so I was presented with a metric tonne of meat, orangey goodness and an acceptable amount of side salad.
So what of the meat? The donner was very good, and there was lots of it. The kofte was a little quick to disintegrate, but had a nice flavour to it, and was cooked to perfection. The shish though – hidden underneath the rest, was worth waiting for – absolutely stunning. Its a case of when – not if – I return, I’m just going to go for a mixed shish because it was so on point – huge cubes on the skewer, cut into smaller pieces for the tray, but oh so succulent, well grilled on the outside and tender on the inside, with the marinaded flavour running all the way through. Put it this way, I’ve had way worse lunches.
The more observant of you will notice that there is no bread – this is because the large mixed kebab is so big, the pitta bread comes in a separate bag. However – it was also entirely redundant, and went straight in the bin – why stuff a pitta bread with meat, salad and sauce when you could just eat it from the tray? I suppose you could use it to mop up the excess sauce, but frankly you’d need a better constitution than I.
The other thing I should mention is that Botan is the inaugural member of the “there was so much here that I couldn’t finish it” club – though it was only a small amount – the last three or so strands of donner meat joined the pitta bread in the bin because there was no way I could get them down. I was stuffed.
All in all, a very good kebab. Not sure about a 10/10 as it wasn’t perfect, but it was about as close to perfect as you’d hope for, and at a very reasonable price considering the meal contained half a sheep. Given I gave Istanbul 9/10 because they don’t have seats, I think it’s only fair I do the same here, though it did give me the experience of eating a kebab on the steps of a church, a sentence I never thought I’d write.
Anyway, if you’re in Liverpool and reading this between the hours of 4pm and 5am, immediately stop what you’re doing and go here. Now.
Botan – Berry Street
From memory – £8.10 I think? – Large mixed kebab (lamb donner, kofte, shish)