Girls’ night out at DeRoka, Milton Keynes

A selection of Turkish main courses on a table

Fun fact about me – I had never eaten Turkish before our girls’ night out at DeRoka. I literally thought it was just kebab and I've never been one for ordering one of those. But how wrong I was!

We aim to have a girls’ night in (or out!) once a month – of course, time permitting – and we mix up where we choose to go. I have to say on this occasion I was out voted 3-1 as I suggested Thai. That said, I was looking forward to trying something (and somewhere!) new. I don't go out in Milton Keynes much, but DeRoka is based at The Hub where there's loads of bars and restaurants – and it's usually a good night out.

It was incredibly busy on the Saturday night and took a while for us to get seated. Other than our appetisers (we got some gorgeous complimentary flatbread with tzatziki and a tomato dip) and starters arriving well before our drinks, the service wasn't too bad, and we weren't rushed during the course of the evening… although it proved an earlier night than our Christmas party.

There was plenty of choice on the menu and I didn't really know where to start. I hadn't planned on having a starter as I usually get too full and would much rather have pudding and/or an after-dinner cocktail. But when everyone else decided on starters, there was only really one option that caught my eye – the octopus salad.

Octopus salad on a bed of mixed peppers and gherkins
It was delicious! Full of freshness and with so much octopus on top. It was a cold salad on a base of mixed peppers and little gherkins – and all the herbs. I don't think I've ever had so much dill! The octopus was just beautiful, but really filling, while the dressing of olive oil and lemon juice was light and simply added to the freshness. I'd order it again in a heartbeat!

If I remember rightly, the rest of the party ordered hot starters: falafel for my veggie friend and the king prawns with sweet chilli sauce (which also looked incredible) were also enjoyed by the table.

When it come to the main course, I went into panic mode. I wasn't ready to order and everyone else was. So, I ended up playing it reasonably safe with the chicken shish. Nothing could have prepared me for the amount of food to come my way! I'd say there was enough for two – but the two meat eaters ordered the sharing platter, and that was just next level. It could have easily served three or four!

Chicken shish, served with rice, tortilla and veg
Anyway, back to my dish – chunks of succulent grilled chicken served with rice; a slither of tortilla; mixed peppers and other veg; and a handful of rocket leaves. It was presented well and so delicious. It was just too much food for me. I think I was done after the starter, no lie! I would definitely order it again though, or even try the lamb, and I 100% got food envy over that platter…

The platter (which you can order to serve 2 or 4) contained a mixture of chicken and lamb shish; lamb ribs; chicken wings; Adana kebab; and chicken beyti (which is like mince). The platter came with accompaniments of mountains of rice, veg and rocket. Even one look gave me the meat sweats, but the girls ploughed through it – eventually even taking the leftovers home. I think I was most jealous about the ribs, they looked so succulent, and while I was offered to try something different, I simply couldn't eat anymore. I have since noticed a single person version of the sharing platter – the DeRoka mix – and had I spent longer looking at the menu, I may well have gone for that… simply for a bit of variety. There were also some lovely sounding seafood dishes. There’s no doubt that I’ll be back!

DeRoka's sharing platter for 2, featuring chicken and lamb kebabs, wings and ribs
Our favourite vegetarian ordered the veggie moussaka, which was also served with rice. Packed full of colourful veg, it also looked delicious. I’m now wanting moussaka – the meaty version, obviously!

We skipped dessert… well, we weren't really offered it – and instead, opted for cocktails. I went for a Lychee Martini, which was the perfect mix of freshness, sweetness, and a touch of sour. It went down too easily for sure! The cocktail list is fairly extensive and also includes a few frozen options. Had it not been such a cold night (and it was fairly cold in the restaurant too – I think it was the draught from the entrance!), I could have been swayed by frozen Porn Star Martini. The others had Sex on the Beach and a normal Porn Star, to wrap up the evening.

And it was a lovely evening – great to catch up, enjoy some good (and different!) food and go back to a level of normality. Who knew what a full restaurant looked like? I’ve since found out that DeRoka is a family-owned independent too, so they get extra ratings for that. But I’ll definitely have Turkish again. My preconceptions could not have been more wrong – DeRoka, you have convinced me.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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