Eat & Drink
Originally published on Friday, 13th November 2009
Eating Istambul in 21 Days: Modern Istanbul
You didn’t come to Istanbul to sip gin and tonics and surround yourself with Euro-wannabes but if its your first time to Middle East, the places below are a soft landing before you dig deep and get your hands dirty with the real Turkey:
Changa and Muzdechanga
Still going strong after 10 years, the menus at ultra-modern Changa and Muzdechanga are created under the watchful eye of Kiwi chef Peter Gordon. Peter Gordon was the founding father of London’s fusion movement as head chef of iconic restaurant The Sugar Club so you can expect creative modern interpretations of Turkish food with lots of surprises. Start off with a Turkish caipirinha made with Bodrum tangerines and bergamot.
Siraselviler Caddesi 47, Taksim and Sakip Sabanci Caddesi 22, Emirgan
Owned by Mehmet Gurs, a Finnish-Turk with an obsession for good ingredients, Mikla is located on the rooftop of the Marmara Pera hotel with sweeping views of the Golden Horn and the Bosporus. Mehmet has recently hired one of my dear friends to spend months scouring the Turkey countryside to source produce for the restaurant so you can expect to find only the best quality ingredients being used in the kitchen.
Mesrutiyet Caddesi Tepebasi
Winding up the hill to Galatasaray square you’ll notice a small, nondescript sign for Limonlu Bahçe - the lemon garden. Feeling like an intruder as you grope your way through the dark corridors what looks like someone’s townhouse, you eventually reappear in a beautiful garden cafe full of lemon trees. A great place to sip a fresh lemonade and escape the heat.
A small collection of three restaurants owned by Musa Dağdeviren, Çiya is a must for anyone visiting Istanbul. Musa is renowned in Turkey as a 'culinary anthropologist' due to his extensive work in travelling across small villages in Turkey and eating with families and recording their recipes. The walls of his restaurants lined with jars of homemade pickled walnuts, chunks of pumpkin and quince in syrup and there are pots of some of Çiya’s repertoire of over 300 recipes of rural Turkish home cooking bubbling away on the stove. You’ll taste ingredients and food here that you won’t find anywhere else including many of the 'forgotten dishes' that Musa is actively resurrecting through his work and travels.
Güneslibahce Sk 43, Kadiköy
Siirt Seref Büryan Kebap Salonu
Forget Texas and the deep South, when it comes to pit barbecue it’s the Kurdish who have been masters for generations. Located in a predominantly Kurdish neighbourhood of Istanbul, this restaurant specialises in only 3 things - pit roast sheep, claypot baked rice in a dough crust, and lots of fluffy hand-stretched flatbreads to mop it all up with. Wash it down with a copper mug full of their house-made ayran (salted drinking yoghurt) and pat your stomach full of mutton before heading out into the square for tea in one of the many tea salons.
CANTEENS AND KEBAB SHOPS
(Lokantasi, Köfteci and Kebap Salnu)
The old-world, cobbled neighbourhoods of Fener, Fatih, Balat and Kasimpaş a are all great areas to explore on foot and uncover the blue-collar canteens, köftecis and lokantasis that keep everyday Istanbullis alive and fed.
Köfteci Arnavut - Mürselpaş a Caddesi 139, Balat
Doyuran Lokantasi - Ordekli Bakkal Sok. 10, Kumkapi
Kastamonu Sultan Köftecisi - Leblebciler Sokak 14, Balat
More Istanbul eats:
Jennifer Klinec from Eat Drink Talk has kindly agreed to provide Urban Junkies readers with mouthwatering recipes and foodtips.
To learn more, classes at Eat Drink Talk are held in Jennifer's beautiful loft in Clerkenwell, packed with information and useful tips, and you'll get to sample all of the delicious dishes prepared during class.?