Sunday, 10 April 2011

Istanbul Restaurants: Pera Sisore

Meze, fish and grilled meat are well known staples of Turkish food.  The last of those is probably the best represented over here in London, but you can find the others as well.  What you don't really see (and if anyone can correct me, that would be great news) is the Black Sea coast cooking they specialise in at Pera Siosore.  This has been described, by the fantastic Istanbul Eats where I found this recommendation, as similar to the soul food of the Southern USA.  This means deep rich flavours made from simple ingredients, great stocks, stewed greens and that kind of thing.  This is definitely what I remember about Sisore, that and the best Pide I've ever had.  Now this is something that you can get good versions of in London, but I've never had one like this.

Pera Sisore sits in the now up and come neighbourhood of Asmali sitting off the main Beyoglu drag of Istiklal Cd.  Despite all the bars and fancy, slightly generic looking modern European eateries Sisore looks like it was there long before gentrification.  Now steam trays are something that in Britain brings up bad memories of school, college, hospital food.  Limp lifeless and not so great basically.  But, they shouldn't be pre-judged like that.  They keep stews really well, and help make them very soft.  In London places like Needoo use them to great effect with their curries.  So, the basic message here is; don't get put off when you see a window full of steam trays.  Meatballs and mash were good even for someone with some Swedish roots like me, though I did have better Kofte.  The stewed spinach was delicious.  Sitting in a rich, flavoursome stock it was a main event in itself.  The chickpea stew was again rich and tasty in a punchy and very smoky red broth.  A lamb stew covered in mash was good, but not the best dish.  Alongside this sat some very good vine leaf dolmas stuffed with rice and minced lamb.  The main event, without a doubt was the pide.  Big, rich, covered with a smear of butter.  The cheese was salty and mild, with a delicious smoked sausage chopped up through it.  The dough was thick, crisp on the outside, with lightly charred bits and a soft pillowy inside.

So the message, as it often is, is that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.  This place is amazing and fantastic value to boot.  Definitely a worthwhile stop off if you are in Istanbul and staying in Beyoglu.

Price for two: €25-30
Address: Oteller Sokak 6, Beyoğlu

No Alcohol

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