Taste Halil’s lahmacun
Every now and again, a place starts off by making tasty lahmacun, then moves on to pide, then döner, then T-bone steak. Before you know it, a small-time eatery has become a world fare restaurant – and not even a good one. A small shop in Kadıköy Çarşı, Halil’s place is thankfully not one of them, as he makes lahmacun and lahmacun alone. (OK, he also serves cheese pide, but that’s it.) Our editor-in-chief has been raving about this place practically since the first time we’ve met, so I finally set aside some time to go try it. The result: to my surprise, not so heavenly. That may have more to do with me than the lahmacun itself, though, as the incredible crispiness of its thin dough is not particularly impressive to someone who likes hers soft and chewy. The topping is, however, light and delicious, and I am definitely going to let you make up your own mind about Halil.
Kadıköy Çarşı, Güneşlibahçe Sokak 26
Kabine Nadire is a weird little atelier/art gallery/DIY workshop in Moda that takes its name from the cabinets of curiosities (or cabinets of wonder, as they were sometimes called) of the 14th and 15th centuries. Precursors to today’s museums, these cabinets were collections of objects as diverse as historical relics, works of art, antiquities and natural items. Carrying out the same tradition, Kabine Nadire aims to create an imaginative playground for everyone who shares its sense of awe. You can drop by to check out their latest exhibition or participate in their workshops; the next one (hat-making) will be held on June 23. http://kabinenadire.tumblr.com/
Dr. Esat Işık Caddesi 14, Moda
A true testament to the saying that good things come in small packages, this tiny shop is bound to win your heart before you even walk in. As its name implies, Vintage sells old 45 and 33 rpm vinyl records, from Turkish classics such as Zeki Müren and Müzeyyen Senar to The Police and Michael Jackson. You can also find multimedia memorabilia such as VHS and cassette tapes, Walkmans and Polaroid cameras here. What a way to travel back in time.
Dr. Esat Işık Caddesi 20, Moda
Try Mosquito’s ‘brownie’
Located on the street right across from Rexx Cinema, Mosquito used to be our favourite after-school hangout spot throughout high school years. It easily has been 12 years since I’ve last visited the place, so imagine how happy I was to discover that it’s still there. While the interior is pretty much how I remember it, the menu, which has tripled in size, tells me it is no longer the modest cafe it once was but has become one of those world fare eateries. If you’re wondering, I’m not particularly fond of those kinds of places. (See above.) In fact, you can find burritos, noodles, steaks, ravioli, burgers and all kinds of finger food here, none of which I can vouch for. What I’m going to suggest is their ‘brownie’. I remember they used to make a sumptuous brownie back in the day, so I had to find out whether they still did. Well, it is still sumptuous, but no longer a brownie. When I politely pointed out that the dark brown slice in my plate – while yummy and moist with an even yummier dark chocolate sauce – was not a brownie but simply a chocolate cake, ‘Oh yes, I know,’ he replied, ‘we thought the brownie was kind of dry, so over the years we slowly replaced it with a moister version. The customers love it!’ Odd as it may sound, there’s nothing disappointing about the cake except for its name. If you’re a choco-devil, you can order it with a little more sauce; they’re happy to oblige.
Arayıcıbaşı Sok 4A, Caferağa
Delve into comics at Gerekli Şeyler
I’m not your typical comic book enthusiast, but I am enthused by this place. Aptly named Gerekli Şeyler (or Necessary Things), this guilty pleasure of a store is where you can find Marvel and DC classics, Neil Gaiman series, everything Star Wars, mangas, toys, figurines, collectible items and countless other shiny things. Also, many books are conveniently available in both Turkish and English.
Moda Caddesi 33A, Moda