I love a good pop-up. After my last incredible experience at Frescobaldi’s Winemakers Dinner, I was really excited to head over there again – but this time, to try some Turkish fare.
I fell in love with the story behind Aman da Bravo, a ‘bistronomique’ from Istanbul started by two friends – Inanc Baykar and Melis Korkud. Having established a successful catering company, the two women were offered several spaces to host a restaurant, including hotels, but nothing felt quite right. They then decided to pop a table in the kitchen of their catering business, which is in a largely residential area of Istanbul – only open for lunch, and seating only twenty, the two entrepreneurs managed to turn it into a success via word of mouth.
In Turkish, the name ‘Aman da Bravo’ is apparently play on words (‘what a great idea’) – which apparently one of them had suggested sarcastically.
Their menu is seasonal, and developed out of what is available at their local farmer’s market – and until the 17th of September, they have brought their dishes to London, at the fabulous Frescobaldi.
I love Turkish food, but I’ve never had it like this. We were lucky enough to sample everything on the menu, and started off with spinach roots and pears, which were baked in olive oil with fennel and tangerine zest.
We also got to sample the delicious calves liver with tabbouleh – marinated in molasses with celeriac. While delicious, my absolute favourite starter (and the must-have dish of the lot) was the manti – Turkish dumplings filled with lamb, sage butter, and pine nuts. Served with a little shaved parmesan, these were almost like tortellini, and were so moreish – I could’ve done with a few plates of the stuff.
Then we were onto the mains – the standout dish for me being the octopus. It was cooked to perfection (no rubbery flesh here) – it had been poached in red wine, and was served with grilled Romaine lettuce and a sun-dried tomato salsa.
I also adored the cauliflower, ground meat and egg dish – roasted with turmeric, it was smoky, but the runniness of the egg gave it a creaminess to the dish, too.
Just when I felt I was fit to burst, the desserts arrived. Not being one for desserts particularly, the Sütlaç (rice pudding) was not one for me, as it was rather sweet, but the curd cheese, figs and honey were a perfect way to round off the meal.
An evening of lovely food, and of course, being Frescobaldi, fantastic wine – in such a lovely venue, too! It’s also got me hankering after a trip to Istanbul, to visit the actual premises, but make sure you get over to FrescoBravo before the 17th! You won’t regret it.