For the last five days, I’ve been breakfasting off a haul of takeout pastries from Noor-Sha Cafe, a new Turkish bakery in Garland. I’ve pulled apart buttery coils of cheese-filled pastry and twisted open sesame-covered breads.
It’s been a good week.
Noor-Sha Cafe is something between a commercial bakery and a retail operation, with a specialty in catering. In my experience, they don’t really expect walk-in customers and their display case does not have either labels or prices. In other words, for anyone who isn’t Turkish, this is playing the food game on hard mode.
When you walk in the door and look in the case, you’ll find cookies and tea cakes, but walk farther along, toward the large working kitchen, for the real treasure: the pastry spirals I mentioned earlier. Börek can come in many forms and shapes. The basic requirement is paper-thin phyllo dough wrapped around a filling; after that, the sky’s the limit. “Cigar” börek is a popular appetizer at Greek and Turkish restaurants. Small squares of spinach-filled börek are well-known under their Greek name, spanakopita. When I’ve made this pastry in the past, I’ve taken the easy way out, laying the phyllo dough in sheets in a pan and baking it like a pastry lasagna.
At Noor-Sha, the phyllo gets rolled around a filling and then wrapped into a spiral shape, creating a tight coil of delicious pastry. The bakery makes four fillings: potato, cheese, meat, and spinach. I grabbed three of four (sorry, spinach). The beef and feta cheese offerings are great, especially the beef börek, which proved the least greasy of the three. The partly-mashed potatoes were my least favorite, with an odd blend of spices.
Each of these pies, by the way, is $8.50 and big enough to share with one other person. I took them all home and slid them into the fridge, then reheated them in the oven each morning while I showered and dressed. Leaving them in for a couple of extra minutes can’t hurt, as the phyllo just gets crispier and more fun to shatter with your teeth.
While at Noor-Sha, I also asked after simit, the Turkish bagel-like bread that is twisted in a ring and dunked in sesame seeds. If you wish sesame bagels were completely coated in sesame—top, bottom, and sides—you should make the switch to simit. For a first-timer, though, I’d recommend the offering at Horizon Bakery, which is a frozen take-and-bake bag you can reheat at your leisure. Compared to Horizon’s simit, Noor-Sha’s offering when I visited was slightly underproofed and flat in shape. But they taste great with olives, feta cheese, tomatoes, or cured meats. Next time I’ll try the bakery’s poğaça, little bread buns with varied fillings like cheese, spinach, olives, or meats. (The ğ is silent and the ç makes a “ch” sound: po-AH-cha.)
If you want to place a big catering order, the online ordering system is helpful and full of eye-popping offerings, like enormous trays of baklava for $40-50, and extra-large börek. But if you’re willing to do some legwork and point at unlabeled display cases, stop by Noor-Sha and pick out your own breakfast. This is a little island of pastry goodness in Garland’s industrial parks.
Noor-Sha Cafe and Catering, 1117 S. Jupiter Rd.