349 Barry Rd Campbellfield, VIC 3061
|Opening hours||Mon-Sat 9am-9pm|
|Prices||Cheap (mains under $20)|
|Phone||03 9357 9997|
You know when Uber drivers give you the gold? Katik is one of those tips. On the border of Coolaroo and Dallas, this Turkish stronghold serves up top-notch doner kebabs and made-to-order pide hot from the stone oven.
It's owned by Turkish trio Yusuf Altinpinar, Suphi Ukur and Monzer Abdo. Yusuf, who has 11 siblings and hails from Adana where he sold street food and dished up lentil soup from a tiny "two by two" shop, migrated to Melbourne with his wife Nilgun in 1989.
Working at the Ford vehicle assembly plant, he noticed the kebab shop opposite had come up for sale. Yusuf and Suphi worked together to grow the business, bringing on Monzer and various family members, including Yusuf's son, Hus Altinpinar.
"Everything is made in-house," says Hus. "We've had opportunities to outsource, but my dad wants to do it himself."
Beloved by high-vis-wearing tradies, cabbies and local families, who form a throng in the doorway underneath the picture menu, Katik runs flat-chat from 9am to 9pm. Good luck getting a perch at one of the low booths or bright orange outdoor seats.
Seven dollars for a kebab? Yep! You read it right. Not just any kebab. This foil-wrapped ripper is 31 centimetres long ($4.50 for half) stuffed with spicy carved meat (chicken or lamb), crunchy salad, house-made dips and – if you like – a fiery chilli sauce.
"Campbellfield is mainly an industrial zone; a working-class community," says Hass. "If you boost the prices, you lose the workers." The prices last went up four years ago and only by 50¢.
Katik's generous pides start at $7 and are the stuff of northern legend. Each one is shaped and made from scratch, the vego version filled with egg, tomato, parsley and cheese, a stringy mozzarella-feta mix. You'll need to wait 10 to 15 minutes, but it's so worth it.
How do they get the bread so stretchy yet crisp and fluffy all at once? "Years and years of practice and fine-tuning," says Hus. "It's just flour, salt, sugar and water. But it's knowing the ratios and feel."
The Adana is the house special, a 30-year-old recipe of a long skinless sausage of minced lamb laced with paprika and "other secret spices", served with fresh bread, a sumac-dusted onion salad, dips (maybe, carrot or tzatziki), blistered green chilli and tomato.
Katik doesn't have a lot of interior design flair. But if great food is your priority, this won't bother you a jot.
Good to know: there's free local delivery on orders over $30 and if you're looking for hookah pipes, they sell them next door.
Here's cheers to the Uber driver who told me (and now you) about this rockin' Turkish hangout.