As you may already be aware, restaurants in Istanbul have been included in the Michelin Guide. It is one of the most esteemed restaurant rating systems in the world and is widely regarded as the most significant assessment of the gastronomic world.
In the process of rating restaurants, Bib Gourmand establishments — that is, eateries with moderate costs and high standards of taste—are also assessed. For your benefit, we looked into every aspect of the Alaf Restaurant’s Bib Gourmand rating. Let’s investigate this fantastic eatery together.
For other great restaurants in Istanbul, you can check our Top 10 Best Restaurants in Istanbul article too!
When was Alaf Opened?
By founding Alaf Sokak and then Alaf Restaurant in Kuruçeşme in the latter months of 2018, Chef Murat Deniz Temel began to develop his own cuisine. In Alaf, from which he gathered all of his experiences, he brought the past of the nomadic peoples to light and defined it as “a nomadic saga that feeds on its roots.”
In nomadic language, Alaf signifies embed flame. Murat Deniz Temel describes Alaf as a migratory restaurant, one that is nourished by the cultures and tales left behind by those who have passed through, relocated to, or arrived from this region.
In the Michelin Guide, Alaf was criticized as follows:
Alaf is a fun restaurant with a fantastic rooftop cocktail bar. Deniz Chef’s meals may exhibit various influences, including Yörük, dishes from Anatolia, and more. It utilizes a wood-burning oven together with creativity and contemporary methods. Explore a variety of flavors with your palate.
We had one of the best dinners before the epidemic on the top floor at Alaf in Kuruçeşme. Alaf was selling “street food” downstairs. Distinct tasting meals are available upstairs; we blended three different tasting menus and completely left the decision to chef Deniz Temel.
Deniz Chef, who I had previously known from Alancha’s kitchen, had a different concept for his own restaurant as opposed to “fine dining.” Of course, every labeling involves some simplification, but let’s take this into consideration and term it a “gastro pub” or “gastro-bistro.” In other words, it’s a restaurant that offers guests a variety of well-known and tasty dishes in a lovely and boozy setting while still maintaining the chef’s signature.
In Alaf the emphasis on the “chef’s trademark” is crucial because, although a successful gastro-bistro may not appear to be as ambitious as “fine dining” in terms of gourmet concepts when it is executed effectively, it provides the discerning consumer with an unparalleled level of pleasure. For this pleasure to be provided, a chef must be more than just a competent cook. He must be aware of and passionate about his goals. similar to what Deniz Temel did in Alaf!
According to her personal preferences, Deniz makes foods that are influenced by the Anamur region, where he was raised. Like me, he enjoys the smell of soot and food that has been cooked over a fire and with wood. He uses the entire lamb, taking it whole. The outcome is mouthwatering offal and fantastic handmade lamb bacon. Eating here on the patio with a view of the Bosphorus is a joy.
When you sample the treats, you get the impression that a lavish feast is about to begin. A treat in Alaf is homemade sourdough bread topped with cheese and goat butter from Anamur. Once more, the regional “batirk,” or bulgur meatballs with pistachio and tahini, is delectable. The ‘sumac soup,’ however, that is served in the actual tea glass, is a wonderful starter. The soup’s sweet-sour balance was successfully accomplished by combining sumac sherbet with less yogurt and stock. A delicious beginning to a lengthy and filling supper.
An offal feast is served as the first course of the celebration. All of the lambs were grilled. Different sauces are utilized in each, giving the dish a new complexity without taking away from the primary flavor.
Next are the kidney, atom kokoreç, neck uykuluk (a hormone bezel), and lamb’s heart. Chimichurri sauce over lamb’s heart (scallion, coriander, red onion, parsley, vinegar, and chili pepper). Aioli is found below (a mayonnaise-like sauce made with olive oil, garlic and eggs) with persillade sauce, the neck uykuluk (parsley, garlic, lemon juice).
On a lamb kidney, a salsa of tomato and smoky onion. With lavash bread and traditional spices, atom kokoreç is served. Successful organs include the heart, kidney, and especially kokoreç. The uykuluk is a little bit dry when it is sliced into small pieces and used as skewers. The type of homemade bacon pita was one of the tastiest dishes we have ever had.
How was it made ready?
One layer of abdominal fat, one layer of lamb. Alaf seasoned for two days, squeezed, smoked, and finely chopped. It pairs incredibly well with pita. The vinaigrette drizzled over it also reduced the amount of oiliness and gave the flavor another angle. Bravo!
The lamb is delicious when cooked in a tandoori, but in my opinion the lamb from Thrace does not suit the tandoor as well as Konya’s big-tailed lamb and the Taurus Mountains’ full-bodied lamb. Instead of the tandoori, the three lamb side dishes came to mind. The first is bulgur pilaf. basil, dried eggplant, and sour sumac. The second is derived from the water of the lamb. Yogurt flavored with jasmine and new thyme is third.
Desserts in Alaf were also excellent. The first time I tried the quince dessert with cayenne pepper cream ice cream, I thought it was good. The pistachio dessert that was based on baklava was also excellent. In addition to this, the chef reimagined the traditional kömbe and kerbiç desserts that I have seen in Antakya and Mersin. He took it apart and reassembled it according to his own perspective. Without losing their essence, these are the flavors that anyone aged 7 to 70 will adore.