Sunday, 28 October 2007
We wanted a highlight in Istanbul... and Korfez certainly gave it to us. What a place. What a journey. What great theatre. What sublime food. If you visit Istanbul you've got to go here.
It's the other side of the water from where we were staying in Beyoglu... on the Asian shore. It was tipping it down and we were, as ever, late. So we got a cab all the way round which took the best part of an hour to get there. Our cab driver was brilliant but didn't know where we were going so we stopped off at loads of random places on the way.
On arrival we did not have a clue what to expect. It looks like a random ex-pat house from the road but reveals itself to be a glorious yacht-esque type place once you see it from the waterfront which it clings to precariously.
The menu read brilliantly. But one thing was missing... the price. Scary. We looked at the wine list and extrapolated that it was going to be pricey but we would be able to afford it as a treat!
Tucked away in a corner we asked politely if we could move to a window table so we could soak up the incredible view of cars streaming over the bridge and the mosques and old town lit up lke something out of a Holliwood blockbuster. We were graciously moved to position A in the restaurant once another couple had left.
We had a small collection of meze as a pre starter including two of the most interesting dishes we'd had in a long time. Tarama tasted not a bit like anything that normally has tarama in its title. It was soft. Slightly fruity. Creamy. And beautiful. Such a clean taste. Stunning.
The other immense meze dish was something with smoked egg plant that was glorious. The smokiness was dazzling. So much so I can taste it now when I think hard enough. It looked pretty dull but tasted magic.
Once we had been upgraded to the royal box things got even better. We couldn't help evesdropping on an executive from Microsoft's nauseatingly dull conversation! Showing off to his guests.
My starter of a vast prawn with a sweet and sour sauce and noodles was a very original piece of cooking and not something I was expecting. It was like a small lobster really and covered in a great little sauce.
I nipped off to the loo and came back to find Cowie surrounded by 4 waiters and all the customers staring at our table! As I sat down the commotion died down. Then it picked up again as quickly as it faded as the head waiter set a large copper cauldron of salt covered sea bass on fire having doused it in brandy and then smashed the cauldron with a hammer! Drama! Noise. Commotion. And a devastatingly awesome dish. The fish was so soft it melted each time I put a piece in my mouth. It was a dish I never wanted to end.
I've completely forgotten what Cowie had. Whatever she had was good... I guess I was so blown away by the sea bass that everythung else has slipped throuh my collander of a memory!
But the best bit was yet to come... we had seen a wealthy couple leave by private boat and had gossiped about how much we'd love to be able to afford our own boat home rather than a lenghtly cab journey. After a second coffee we plucked up courage to ask the waiter whether the boat was available for use... he said of course it was a complimentary private boat for the restaurant! So we leapt up and danced onto our boat feeling like film stars watching our favourite restaurant in Istanbul twinkle into the distance as we swept across the Bosphorous.
Korfez has to be one of the most romantic restaurants in the world.