Alaturka offers authentic Turkish cuisine in Ipswich

Alaturka Turkish Restaurant, Great Colman Street.
Semra Avcikaya with staff at Alaturka Turkish

Alaturka Turkish Restaurant, Great Colman Street. Semra Avcikaya with staff at Alaturka Turkish Restaurant. Gul Angelov, Semra Avcikaya, Sophie Lanham and Eylem Orkun. - Credit: Archant

Restaurant is a runner-up in the Ipswich Independents’ Competition

Alaturka Turkish Restaurant in Great Colman Street is a relative newcomer on the Ipswich scene, opening just under two years ago.

But it has certainly made an impact and has now been announced as a runner-up in the Ipswich Independents’ Competition, run by Ipswich Central in conjuction with the Ipswich Star, for 2013.

The main award has gone to Jaceys Coffee House in St Stephen’s Lane and both Alaturka and jewellers Riley and Riley were announced as runners up.

Semra Avcikaya is very grateful for the support, and nominations, of the restaurant customers in getting recognition in the Ipswich Independents’ Awards.

Semra, originally from Istanbul, came to Suffolk to open the restaurant and offer authentic Turkish cuisine in Ipswich.

A business graduate, she had been previously been working for a national company in Kent in the restaurant trade, and the chance to open an independent restaurant brought her here.

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“It was a big opportunity. The chef wanted to run his own place. It was a chance to change our lives.

“I knew about restaurants, my father used to run one in Turkey and I was there from a young age.”

Starting a new business from scratch, especially in the food and hospitality business, can be very tough.

Staff had to be found and trained, and the business gradually grown, and a reputation for hospitality and excellence earned.

She said: “We had to work very hard the first year to get people in.

“It is not about one person. We have a really good team here. It is essential you have all the different aspects of the business working well together.

“We are blessed. Our customers are ever so nice. We haven’t come across anyone rude. I think they expect attention, and they expect us to be hospitable.

“We are looking forward to having more now. People leave their cards and we have 2,000 people we can email about special offers and events.”

Semra makes a point of explaining the menu to diners visting the restaurant for the first time, like myself, who perhaps hadn’t eaten in a Turkish restaurant before.

There are chef’s speciality dishes and a monthly special menu, suggested by the customers. “It is important that customers feel they have a say.”

There is Turkish coffee, tea and beer too.

There is also a menu for people who need gluten free or onion free food.

The restaurant is open six nights a week at the moment and there are plans to add Sunday lunchtime dining and Saturdays, for football fans and shoppers.

There are also likely to be weekday lunchtimes for Christmas party groups.

Closer to Christmas, Semra is arranging additional entertainment for customers, as a `thank you’, a genuine belly dancer.

She is very pleased that Alaturka has been chosen as a runner-up in the competition.

“We must do everything we can to encourage local businesses in the town,

“A lot is said about bringing new businesses here, which is good, but we must support existing businesses too.

“Business rates are very big. They are difficult for everybody.”

Every small business contributed a great deal of money into the community that then circulates within it, generating wealth, she said.

“There are a lot of costs when you are first beginning. It is not easy for small businesses.

“I pay out money to 42 different people, from the council to the window cleaner.

“The money circulates. I pay the window cleaner, and he can afford to go out for meals. That is what business is about.”

Alaturka Turkish Restaurant, 9 Great Colman Street

01473 233448