Awesome recommendations from Istanbul and pieces of the charming European destination in Mumbai.
Postcard from Istanbul
One of us Scouters travelled West to sun on the banks of the Bosphorus, and not just came back with awesome recommendations from Istanbul, but also found pieces of the charming European destination in Mumbai.
Arrive at KeVe, and you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a magic garden. Located on the very edge of Taksim, Istanbul’s hippest shopping district (we highly recommend the walk here from Taksim square) and housed in a 19th century courtyard, this little restaurant is cannily decorated with fairy lights, wrought iron chairs and a couple of resident cats. It serves airily light cheese and spinach tortellini, mint lamb and perfectly pitched drinks.
Another good bet is The House Café, also in Taksim, which offers plenty of vegetarian options (get the generous mezze platter), a major bonus in Istanbul.
KeVe, Tünel Geçidi 10, Beyoglu, approx 25 Turkish lira/person*; The House Café, İstiklal Caddesi Mısır Apt. No:163, Beyoğlum, approx 20 Turkish lira/person.
Locals will tell you that 360 is old news, but it’s also a must-see. The open-aired terrace bar, located in the centre of Istanbul, gives you an incredible view of mosques and turrets, high-rises and sugar-cube houses, all tumbling over the Bosphorus shores. Be prepared to splurge though – at this tiny lounge, you’ll have to shell out 30 lira for a 12 year Chivas on the rocks.
360, 163 Istiklal caddesi, Taksim, visit www.360istanbul.com, starts at 15 lira for a drink.
Istanbul is absolutely fabulous to shop in, which explains our credit card’s current near-coma condition. In Taksim, you’ll find the popular European brands (TopShop, Mavi, Diesel) jostling for space with hip boutiques run by 20-somethings sporting skinny jeans and perfect hair. For traditional amber jewelry, carpets and souvenirs, hit the shops in the Sultanahmet (old city).
One of our favorite finds goes by the unlikely name of Robinson Crusoe: a quirky bookstore with elegant library ladders and old, leather-spined editions lining floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Spoils included an uber-cool Manga comic of Shakespeare’s Richard III in English and a coffee table book featuring kitschy Turkish art.
Robinson Crusoe, Istiklal Caddesi 389, Beyoglu.
Roll your eyes all you want, but this is one tourist activity worth doing. The Bosphorus ferry cruise takes about an hour and half each way, and makes seven stops. Drink in the great views and sea air, and get off at the last island (Anadolu Kavagi) to make the 20 minute trek up to the Yoros Castle where the view will be worth the strenuous climb. If you’re vegetarian or unwilling to give in to tourist trap restaurants, pack a picnic lunch.
Bosphorus Ferry Cruise, get on at the Main Port, Eminonu, Istanbul, 20 lira per person.
*One Turkish lira is worth approximately Rs 34.
Find Turkey in Mumbai:
Turkish Delight brownies at Sleight of Hand: Hidden inside a Fort furniture store, this clever little dessert shop makes the commonplace brownie exotic by adding subtle hints of rose, inspired from the original Turkish dessert.
Sleight of Hand,Trafford House, 6 Prescott Road, opposite BMB Gallery, Fort, call 22091445 or visit www.sleightofhand.in, Rs 65 per piece.
Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk: This is the chronicle of the Nobel Prize winning author’s life, and his lifelong affair with his hometown. It’ll make you fall in love with Istanbul even before you get there.
Crosswords outlets, Rs 285.
Blue Banyan’s Turkish Delight collection: Molded from tree sap, these super pretty earrings, pendants and bangles come in a bright palette of blue, green, purple and red, all inlaid with delicately filigreed silver. (B)angle for these!
Blue Banyan, browse through the collections here, to order call Shuchi on 9820191272, Rs 500 to Rs 5,500, also available at Bombay Stores.
Dial-a-Baklava: While the Iranian Sweet Palace is open only in March during Iranian New Year, its proprietor Hassan Hajati can be convinced to make you a special (bulk party) order for the best baklava in the city. Sweet!
Iranian Sweet Palace, Haroun Manzil, near Bhendi Bazaar, call Hassan Hajati on 9870017847.
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