A Fistful of Kebab at Coluche

There are many good kebab spots in Bordeaux and Coluche is considered one of the best. The place has been packed each time I’ve passed it, made even more popular by its corner location right on a vibrant plaza. Behind the counter is a simple salad station, two vertical rotisseries and a deep-fryer for French fries, falafel and kofte. Three dudes work there. They’re not very friendly but that’s fine. The place is small, so there’s not a ton of space to sit, but there are two bar tables with stools in case you want to stick around.

Dolmades, little bundles of rice wrapped in grape leaf, come in a small or large portion, served on a not too shabby bed of parsley and tomato salad, which is held together by a refreshingly tart vinaigrette. Because, in France, salads, even when they’re just a garnish under a kebab side-dish, cannot go unseasoned. The dolmades themselves were excellent too. Grape leaves were thin and dry, not the soggy, oil-laden stuff I’m used to. And over the top was some creamy sauce blanche (yogurt with garlic and herbs), providing the moisture that excess oil usually gives but also the flavor that the latter does not. The rice inside was not too mushy but still had a nice bite.

The sandwich grec kebab came with tender shavings of grilled lamb wrapped up with crunchy French fries and lubricated with piquant sauce blanche. Some onion and shaved lettuce also appeared, perfect for soaking up the extra sauce. A kebab, which I normally find too dense and heavy to handle even a half of, was actually quite light and full of flavor. And the pain arabe bread was airy and fresh enough, warmed through to a pleasant temperature and softness to offer a tactile delight.

We washed the meal down with Ayran, a tangy yogurt drink I first fell for in Istanbul. The drink has the acidic punch of yogurt without the heft or dairy creaminess, since it is mixed up with enough water to go down smooth. An excellent option to pair with both dolmades and kebab. Coluche is a great option for a quick fix or a late-night snack, and considering how light it feels, it’s satisfying without being too sinful.

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