Chef Christine Manfield hosts food tours to exotic locations, including Turkey.
Christine Manfield continues to work on various global projects within her expansive portfolio and hosts luxury food tours to exotic locations including Istanbul.
In support of her new book, Dessert Divas (out October 22, Lantern, $79.99), she will host pop-up dessert bars at venues across Australia, including Nomad in Sydney and Tonka in Melbourne. See christinemanfield.com.
FAVOURITE TABLE IN ISTANBUL
Muzedechanga at the Sabançi Museum of Modern Art overlooking the Bosphorus. The views are to die for, a sunset cocktail on their beautifully designed outdoor terrace is one of life's true pleasures. The restaurant design is award-winning and contemporary, the kitchen produces refined Turkish food with a modern sensibility and it is among the best in the city. There is acute attention to detail across every aspect of the restaurant. See changa-istanbul.com.
LOCAL FOOD DISCOVERY OF PAST YEAR IN ISTANBUL
Kaymak – the Turkish version of clotted cream, a decadent treat. Have it in a savoury pastry or with honey and fresh bread for breakfast. The best is made from the pure white milk of water buffaloes. It can also be frozen and served as ice-cream. One of the best shops to buy it from in Istanbul is Karakoy Ozsut (Yemisci Hasan Sokak 9/11, Karakoy).
ISTANBUL'S BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET
The many small bars with kitchens, particularly in the hip residential district of Cihangir. Food is organic focused, menus are small but perfectly formed and bar lists have some funky Turkish wines by the glass. Wander the back streets to discover a hidden gem. Go where it's packed with locals. Alchemist, Kahve 6, Otto, Kiki Bar, Kaktus and Cuppa are a few of my favourites in the area.
PLACE TO GO ON A DAY OFF
Take a ferry across to Buyukada Island (one of the Princes Islands in the Marmara Sea) about 40 minutes from the city. Head straight to Bahcede Sinek Kafe for a leisurely garden breakfast – the eggs with local cheese and sucek (sausage) are divine. The food can't be any fresher, cooked with love by two sisters and the contemporary chic simplicity is the perfect backdrop. The island is traffic-free, no cars, only horse-drawn carriages. Wander around the tree-lined streets and take in the beauty of the wooden Ottoman summer houses and soak up the island's laid-back vibe, a perfect respite from city life. See bahcedesinek.com.
FAVOURITE INDULGENCE IN ISTANBUL
My favourite two - Limonlu Bahce (lemonade garden) – a garden hideaway off a narrow lane just down the hill from the Galatasary School that serves the best house-made lemonade imaginable – they also use it as a base for cocktails – good bar snacks too. And a visit is not complete without visiting my favourite kebab shop in Cemberlitas. Seyhmuz Kebap Salonu is on Medrese Sokak, a couple of blocks behind the Grand Bazaar – its kebab menu is authentic with regional specialties. See limonlubahce.com.
WHAT TO AVOID FOOD-WISE IN ISTANBUL
Be careful about where you buy your doner kebabs from (preferably choose your street vendor with local guidance) and the fish places in the tourist areas around Istiklal Caddesi don't offer what's best in the city.