Field Trip: Kapital Kebab (Bordeaux)

Shawarma seems to be a rarity for our Western European friends. It’s unfortunate. It’s not hard to come up with a list of things they do better than us in the Americas (transit, restaurants, bidets, wine, walking), but shawarma is a big win for us Hamiltonians. But there’s still something over there. Something more ancient, more primordial.

Döner kebab is the OG shawarma. Shawarma’s grandpa. The original vertical meat on a spit, it was invented by the Ottomans almost 200 years ago, and has spread all over the world. Some of its grandchildren are taco al pastor, gyro, and our beloved shawarma. But here in Europe, it exists in its original form.

Kapital Kebab is a pretty well regarded kebab joint in the heart of Bordeaux. It offers street side service, and convenient hand food in a great area for drinking wine and smoking cigarettes (it’s France).

Upon walking up the window, you’re greeted by a friendly gentleman who quickly takes your order. I ordered a kebab sandwich and was asked if I wanted it on pita or bread. I went with the bread, because the French have this nasty habit of hiding cheese in things. It looks very interesting, quite flat for bread.

The gentleman then asked what sauce I’d like on my sandwich. I was a bit surprised, I’ve never had to choose a sauce before. I stuck with what I know and went with garlic sauce, though I imagine sauce algérienne would be nice too. The gentleman got to work shaving meat off the spit, and within minutes, my döner kebab was ready for me.

What an interesting sandwich. The bread is a big standout here, it’s the perfect texture. It has a snap when you bite into it, without being too tough. It’s soft enough inside to soak up some sauce, but not get soggy. The French do bread right. The sauce is nice and garlicy, but a bit heavy on the dill if that’s not your thing.

What about this meat? For the grandfather of shawarma. Well, just like your grandfather’s taste in beer, it’s pretty bland and uninteresting, but accessible. It’s really just mildly meaty and tender. I can see how different cultures took this and used it as a building block to put their own spin on.

All in all, this döner kebab was pretty nice. I’m not sure I’d ever take it over a well made shawarma, but a well made kebab turns out to be quite nice. I think I’ll have some more before I return to Steeltown. 7/10.

2 thoughts on “Field Trip: Kapital Kebab (Bordeaux)

  1. Yes yes YES. The BREAD! This is what I had all the time in Germany – not döner – falafel. And grilled. And the sauce was garlicky and sweet. Oooof.
    Thanks for the euro update. Can’t wait to hear more about your adventures!


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