Arnavutköy Cad. No: 50/1, Arnavutköy
0212 358 6087-88
Open 10 -12 Tues -Thurs, weekends 10-5am
Abracadabra, housed in a gorgeous seafront, 4 storey wooden house is a creative food company that hosts food art events and acts as a meeting point for artists. Oh, and it’s a restaurant too. The passion the creators, Ahmet and Dilara, the inspired chef, have for food has gained them a reputation in international gastronomic circles while the Turkish celebrity circuit catches up. No tulum cheese and walnut salads or Turk/Mediterranean menu here, this is a selection for the more adventurous diner, with foods all sourced regionally by their ‘gourmet peasant’, from Trabzon butter to village chickens to a Malatya village woman’s cheese. Emphasis is on health and natural food that’s good for the body as well as the taste buds. Even the ashtrays have ‘for lung cancer’ written on them.
The ever evolving menu and daily specials feature shark and duck as well as more traditional things like zucchini fritters (mucver), served with suzme yoghurt so thick it was like kaymak, and fava bean puree with tahini plus twists like salmon çig köfte with lime, not as spicy as its meat counterpart. The homemade bread that comes with your meal could be a course in its own right, fall apart corn muffin, cake-like moist seed bread and light pastries. If anywhere is going to get me past my indifference to Turkish desserts, this is probably the place to try but not until I’ve got sick of the cheesecake soufflé, carob semi-freddo and the flour free chocolate tart, a rich, gloopy, fudgy topping with a crisp biscuity base. I’m more skeptical about the curried banana mousse, which I’ve braved before, an ambitious venture but a bit heavy-handed on the curry.
There’s a separate breakfast menu which, if you go for on Sundays will bring you to their market, sharing the unique produce that gives them the edge over any other restaurant in Istanbul. September will see guest chefs from New York putting on 3 or 4 days of food art and also the beginning of cooking classes. At weekends the venue continues long into the night, really, you might as well just move in.
Wine 8-12ytl per glass
Salads and mains12-25ytl