THERE’S a moment, a second, a frisson of awkwardness when we order the sharing platter of meze and the mucver and the hummus and a homemade pastrami and then how about a pistachio kebab. Oh, and we’ll have a kavurma too.

“It’s too much,” the waiter suddenly says, unable to contain himself any longer. “Our meze alone are more than enough for two.”

I feel like saying I won’t be scoffing all of this. It’s just that in this game you’ve got to eat a lot of frogs before you kiss that culinary princess. Especially when, as is the case here, it’s not exactly clear from the higgeldy-piggeldy menu – with its Turkish breakfasts, cakes and coffee deals – if there is anything that’s going to be different and fresh and new. But I don’t.

Over many years of over-ordering – call it taking a digestive bullet for you, dear readers – I’ve got used to waiting staff showing absolutely no emotion during this process. Except perhaps for the slow hiking of a plucked eyebrow and the secret scribbling of a note to the kitchen saying: no after-dinner mints for Mr Creosote.

And there was a young waitress serving here at first, but then this friendly big bloke came over, appearing at my elbow as soon as things became interesting. I’m assuming he’s the owner and I’m also assuming he’s concerned lest I spoil my experience. I won’t.

Anyway, I’m not for giving in and Garry, who has been in this movie with me many times before, merely sighs and gives him a look that says: I’m not with Fatty. As it turns out we merely pick at the pastrami, which is crisp and fine and rather good atop a mound of a fine handmade hummus.

I eat one of the light, puffy mucver fritters of courgette, feta and dill. Then another. And somehow end up having three of the four. At the same time we work our way around the meze platter of vegetables prepared with oils and vinegars, spices and herbs, yogurt, occasionally pausing to say things like: “Is there fruit in this?” Or “Have you tried the beetroot?”, “Is this hummus smoked?” and “What is this one? It’s delicious.”

What can I say? It’s all accidentally finished. Easy to do when things are this light and fresh and summery and appetising. Helped, curiously by the fact the bread doesn’t feel the best and we probably eat less of it than we – ahem: I – normally would. We return to our manly chat about our respective motorcycles, pausing only to reprise that moment when Garry headbutted the Forth and Clyde canal and ended up in the drink. On a pushbike.

Around us the restaurant is semi-full, our waiter-owner sitting at a table somewhere behind us doing paperwork, customers wandering in from sunny Leith Walk.

It’s small and long and narrow in here, and it is yet another example of how Edinburgh’s city fathers seem to encourage the opening of small restaurants in former shop units giving a street level vibrancy, a buzz that Glasgow, for some reason, hasn’t yet got. The competitiveness it brings has the knock-on effect of raising standards from the bottom up.

Anyway, that pistachio lamb kofte? It’s punchy and meaty and served with a feather-light bulgar, pomegranate seeds strewn throughout the salad and yogurt on the side.

The kavurma arrives with a pilau rice that’s rich with the flavour of chicken stock and laced with pine nuts and currants. The casserole has a spice and a flavour to it but is perhaps more of a winter dish to our northern minds. We push our seats back and survey the empty dishes. Our waiter-owner arrives at the table, scans the damage done and clearly sees he’s not dealing with amateurs here.

“A selection of baclava to finish, sir? Specially flown in from Turkey.”

Oh, why not.

Cafe Pera

57 Elm Row, Edinburgh (07756 122730)

MENU Courgette, dill and feta fritters, platters of fresh meze, kebabs with pistachio. It’s Turkish through and through but hard to navigate. 4/5

ATMOSPHERE It’s a shoe box, a shop front, a long, narrow and small restaurant of the style that is typically Edinburgh. Pleasant enough. 3/5

SERVICE Were we served by the owner? It felt like it. Hands-on, friendly and knowledgeable about his food. Hard to beat. 5/5

PRICE Meze for two around £12, starter dishes in good portions around £6. Reasonable value in a cafe style setting. 3/5

FOOD Summery food which smacks of home cooking and bursts with fresh flavours. Nothing too sophisticated but very good. 8/10

TOTAL 23/30