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Three Istanbulites, Three Sites

Tuğrul Şavkay with Ajda Pekkan
by Cüneyt Ayral

İstanbul has lost three of its most excellent individuals.

I wanted to write about these three people; however, I couldn't find the suitable words after their death.

They were each an "Istanbul figure" and were all involved in the food and beverage sector in one way or other.

Madame Anahit would cheer up the tables where the customers were half-tipsy with the food and the drink, and add pleasure to Çiçek Pasajı in Beyoğlu with her Hohner brand accordion every night.

So many people took her photos, so many people tipped her and she received so many compliments.

I learnt from Madama Anahit, whom I mentioned in one of my poems, that Hohner is a very famous accordion brand.

Çelik Gülersoy was one of Istanbul's real gentlemen.

Even just the efforts he made to restore the Yıldız Pavilions would have been enough for Istanbul. However, he worked hard for this town but he still fasced hard times while Tayyip Erdoğan (now the Prime Minister) way mayor of Istanbul.

He also helped and supported the author family of the Kanstantinniye Haberleri newspaper, and I hope that it falls to Tayyip Erdoğan's lot to put up a statue in honor of Çelik Gülersoy so that they can have the chance to make up for their faults and apologize.

Çelik Gülersoy's books, each of which is one of his statues, and his pioneering of the café culture, which is spreading swiftly, are among the reasons that he will constantly be remembered.

Türkiye Turing Otomobil Kurumu and his numerous services are not even included in this article.

The third loss shocked me as an item of the news on the internet.

The untimely death of my dear friend Tuğrul Şavkay, who had a great role in Istanbul's food and beverage culture, is something like the loss of the saltcellar in modern Turkish cuisine culture.

We had very beautiful chats and ate delicious food during the years we were founding the Mutfak Dostları Derneği (Kitchen Friends Association).

I cannot decide which day I should talk about: the dinner by Chef Mossiman of the former Mövenpick hotel, or the day Tuğrul encouraged me by saying, "You talked a lot, now set the table"? Then I immediately set a " Tsar table, after hunting" table at the old Ambassador (Bebek) restaurant. I served the food to Tuğrul during that dinner. Tuğrul loved to eat as much as he knew how to cook.

Once I had invited Ajda Pekkan to a "wine tasting" day held by Şarap Dostları Derneği. Tuğrul explained and taught the details of wine tasting to Pekkan. I have kept a photo which was published in one of the newspapers; it is not very high quality, however I have posted it here, as it is a memory of those unforgettable days.

After these three gorgeous Istanbullites, I wish to tell you of my latest food and beverage experiences and recall them once more.

Hüseyin Ceylan, the young Chef in his 30's at Lacivert Resturant, located on the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus and famous for its stunning panorama, is very successful at cooking.

Chef Hüseyin Ceylan knows that cooking is not only about taste but also about the presentation and he is so successful at arranging at dish.

Of course the clumsy service of Lacivert does not reflect the excitement the Chef deserves; however, for a "good dinner" in Istanbul, Chef Hüseyin is the right address.

While you are continuing your meal, his coming to your table with his chic Chef uniform and asking your comments on the dish shows us that the western chef tradition has reached Istanbul. It is nice to see that one of Tuğrul's wishes has come true.

The "grab-eat-run" food culture thoroughly developing in the gigantic malls surrounding Istanbul, irritates the people who love to eat. Therefore, interest in places offering different tastes hast begun to increase at these malls.

One of these places is Apetito, a couple's individual success.

Apetito has two branches; one in Tepe Nautilus and the other in Levent Metro City. You can both have a quick snack and also take the taste away with you; the food is delicious. The successful menus of Banu & Selim Germaner are good alternatives for lunch and supper before or after a movie. The presentation, and service of the food are in good form.

Zihni Bar is definitely one of the most "special" places in Istanbul.

Zihni, after serving for several years on Bronz Sokak, Teşvikiye has opened a huge site in Ortaköy.

Nowadays, Zihni & Friends both compete with the entertainment world of Ortaköy and also address to gourmet taste with its changing menu. The Orient Express menu is a real feast.

Recently, when I was in Istanbul, I asked him why the place on Bronz Sokak had been closed. He told me that the residents of the building had not given him permission to open it. However, now there is a kebapçı operating next door.

Those who love Istanbul should look after the places that contribute to the identity of town. We have all seen what happened to the Yıldız Pavilions after their being taken away from Çelik Gülersoy's control.

The young mayor of Şişli, who on all occasions expresses his enthusiasm of Istanbul, should take care of this situation, and if necessary, should persuade the residents of the Bronz Apartman.

I am not interested in how much money Zihni is going to make from Zihni Bar on Bronz Sokak; moreover I don't know whether or nto he would make money and furthermore I don't think he needs more money, since the place in Ortaköy is fairly good.

However, Zihni Bar is among the places such as Park Şamdan, the five o'clock teas of the Hilton Hotel and the restaurant of Divan Hotel that should be kept alive as an Istanbul pattern.

Please listen to a soft Istanbul song while you read this article or just after you read it. I believe these three excellent Istanbulites will sleep peacefully.

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