Newcomers to haute cuisine often start by asking what it is. Simply put, haute cuisine is very high quality foods being prepared in often complicated ways that base on the best French chefs. Terms such as “molecular gastronomy” are often included in haute cuisine conversations. In our experience, haute cooking tends to focus on the accompanying sauces and garnishes with many developed by chefs operating as the kitchen version of a mad scientist. Although haute cuisine is not, by its nature, designed to fill you up, this is often overcome with side dishes.
This top shelf preparation has inspired restaurants and dishes around the world. But, is haute cuisine also inspiring Turkish chefs, restaurants and traditional dishes? In this article, we’ll look at the haute influence on Turkey’s best restaurants and chefs.
Haute in Turkey
In the Turkish city of Bodrum, you can enjoy haute cuisine at Kocadon. Owned by a well-known local family, Kocadon combines haute dishes with an amazing location and extensive global wine list. You’ll find local dishes, such as calamari, but the haute influence quickly becomes evident when you note that the accompanying sauce includes caviar.
In Alacati, haute lovers should enjoy Barbun. Barbun gives haute lovers the opportunity to enjoy tiny or full entree portions, perfect for the haute foodie who wishes they could taste everything on the menu. But, Barbun takes presentation to a whole new level with its picture window that allows diners to watch the kitchen in action. This is an unparalleled opportunity to see haute cuisine preparation in detail.
If you are open to experimentation and in Istanbul, take your taste buds to the cafe at the Istanbul Culinary Institute. Aspiring chefs are constantly testing the boundaries of haute cuisine and there is a strong and exciting energy to this location. You will especially have trouble choosing a dessert from the extensive menu that includes local ingredient ice creams and multiple desserts with a fig base.
Also in Istanbul is Mikla. Mikla is well known to global foodies with its extraordinary dishes and presentation located on a hotel rooftop. As an example, many diners have a lamb shoulder with a pistachio crust, but the haute kick is the pomegranate molasses. Do not expect to enjoy Mikla without a reservation and we suggest that you secure your table well in advance of your travels.
Our final Istanbul recommendation for haute cuisine is actually a well-kept secret, Ferah Feza. Hidden on the top floor of the building housing the Architects Association headquarters is a true haute gem with an incredible view. In the know locals and travellers return to this location frequently, but they avoid telling too many others so as to maintain the secret.
What makes haute Turkish dishes so well loved?
Haute Turkish dishes take the traditional and find there flair by altering the accompaniments. So, typical Turkish meze, or appetisers, will often include fresh local salads, vegetable dishes and fried pastries. The usual sauces are often based with yoghurt, but expect the unexpected from a haute chef.
Entrees will most often include lamb or seafood. Kebobs or kofte (meatballs) are a common presentation. A haute chef will add complicated sauces to the mix, along with traditional breads. Local spices may be commingled with international additions that will test your ability to identify them.
Desserts are not excluded from haute influence with common figs, strawberries, melons, apricots and other fruits being joined with sauces often exclusive to the individual chef or restaurant. Even a haute dinner should be completed with a raki, where clear grape brandy is infused with anise.
There are many more examples of haute influence on Turkish dishes and restaurants. We expect the haute trend will extend to more locations and menus as more chefs gain comfort with their own experiments and more customers demand deeper and more extensive infusions.
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