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Posts tagged ‘Tunel’

365 Day 7 Bigs Chefs in Sishane

A great place to eat in a neighbourhood busy transforming itself...

These guys have done their homework. And I’d like to thank them for that.

First, Big Chefs has an excellent, well thought-out and easily navigable website. It’s still kinda rare to encounter a Turkish restaurant site that is easy-to-use and get around, that is visually pleasing and not burdened with an oversupply of graphic, Flash and other unnecessary paraphernalia of the electronic variety. All information is at hand and they understand three mouse clicks should be the maximum required to find what you are looking for.

Secondly, the Sishane neighbourhood has been undergoing a transformation since the metro station opened a couple of years back. The area leading from the dank, damp Pera Palas Hotel is now lined with a bunch of new cafes and restaurants, none of which I have yet managed to visit.

Anyway, the restaurant was chosen by a friend who was clearly impressed with both Big Chefs’ breezy, light spaciousness and a menu that offers a wide choice without suffering from the Istanbul’s endemic kebabism. What I really liked? Fish. Istanbul may have a ton of fish restaurants but most of them always seem to be overpriced and force you to deal with traffic on the Bosphorus. Secondly, the choice of salads was decent, and also, the steak (though I didn’t eat it), was clearly a fine cut of meat.

I love to see a business model in Turkey that has some major thought behind it, especially now that the city, and soon the entire country becomes saturated with House Cafes. This is not a criticism (House Cafe is great, if a little overpriced), but evidently others have worked out that it pays to put a serious amount of workshopping into a business plan before venturing ou into Istanbul’s already numerous restauration game.

The interior is perfect for leaving behind the city’s grey, overcast weather. Lots of wood and brick and cleverly stacked wine that manages to be original without sinking into gastropub territory. I love the spaciousness truly rare in this part of town.

And as I always do… I checked the English menu. Not a single error. Didn’t feel like a translation at all, but perhaps that is owed partly to the fact that the restaurant offers little that is peculiar to Turkish cusine and more caters to a wide tastes. When you don’t have to translate the local dishes you’re off to a better start. Nothing stands out as outlandishly original, but what they do is good.

I’m a sucker for a user-friendly website, and a clear, self-explanatory menu. And yep, my seabass salad was exactly what I wanted. The only thing that irked me was the selection of hamburgers – this place doesn’t need them on the menu. Though the fact Chefs offers more than Efes for those after beer makes up for the inclusion.

Get yourself there.

Big Chefs Cafe & Brasserie

Tunel, Istanbul

+90 212 251 7180

www.bigchefs.com.tr