Fatih Tutak opens Turk: I want to create a new alphabet for Turkish cuisine

After some important international experiences, he returns to Istanbul with an ambitious project. We were the first to visit him...

13-01-2020
Fatih Tutak in action. He’s the chef at the new

Fatih Tutak in action. He’s the chef at the new Turk in Istanbul

Turk - Fatih Tutak opened on the 5th of December 2019, after a few weeks of soft opening, in the Turkish capital, and it’s the most important news in Istanbul and promises to be one of the most interesting news in the global fine dining scene as well. We say this because the project is very ambitious (and well put together); and because Fatih Tutak, born in 1985, is already well-known and esteemed internationally.

Turk represents his return to his hometown, after 15 itinerating years: Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Nihonryori RyuGin), Copenhagen (Noma), in China he worked in Beijing and Qingdao, and then Bangkok, where in the last two years he stood out as chef at The House of Sathorn, 36th in the 2017 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

We were among the first journalists to meet him in his new restaurant, during the first service, on the first day of opening. He told us: «I want to create a new alphabet for Turkish cuisine. Two centuries ago, people ate different things that became traditional. But things change, today we have more technology, different tools and mentality. Therefore, we can present equally different ideas to make our food more interesting».

Fatih Tutak

Fatih Tutak

And then: «I have worked with great colleagues. I have got closer once again to Turkish cuisine in the recent years, when I was still in Thailand. I now need to create something that would have a deeper meaning for me, drawing inspiration from what surrounds me. This is why it was necessary for me to return: to make Turkish cuisine – or Italian, it applies to everyone – you must be on location. I returned with the expertise I acquired, and the things I have learnt: I want to create a great restaurant here in Istanbul because our cuisine has not yet received the consideration it deserves. I make Turkish food, with Turkish products, based on current techniques».

The dining room

The dining room

The establishment has a very metropolitan look, a mix of international contemporary and local style. Every element – both in the kitchen and in the dining room – is made by artisans, even the tableware and the furnishings: only the leather chairs are imported, they come from Italy, «because I think they’re fabulous» (a brand from Pordenone: Midj Initaly).

The food is already excellent, above all, the Tarhana with pine mushrooms and yeast, a thick very refined broth with strong umami notes. But the other dishes are also lovely, like Beetroot, yogurt and thymeSquid, white beans and squid inkOx tongue, lettuce, parsley; From my mum vol. 2 (voluptuous: it’s ravioli with duck thigh); and also Duck, cherries and leek... And all the desserts, not very sweet, very aromatic and finely made. «I’ve been working on this project for over a year. The dream has started. I called it Turk because I don’t want to hide: it’s not a simple name, it creates expectations. It’s ok. I want it to be my country’s signature restaurant».

Tarhana with pine mushrooms and yeast 

Tarhana with pine mushrooms and yeast 

Ox tongue, lettuce, parsley 

Ox tongue, lettuce, parsley 

Kadaif, hazelnuts, mastic, rice. Kadaif are like very thin spaghetti 

Kadaif, hazelnuts, mastic, rice. Kadaif are like very thin spaghetti 

The staff is all local, but with international experiences; restaurant manager Berk Kaymak used to work at Park Hyatt in Milan, «in the team some have worked with Bottura, some at Noma or at 108 in Copenhagen, some at Ledbury in London, Inua in Tokyo... It’s an extraordinary team. We want the name Turk to stand out in the global culinary scene, because I want to do something for Turkish cuisine».

Garfish, coriander, pickles

Garfish, coriander, pickles

From my mum vol. 2

From my mum vol. 2

Bonito, rice, vine leaves, Jerusalem artichoke 

Bonito, rice, vine leaves, Jerusalem artichoke 

Duck, cherries and leek 

Duck, cherries and leek 

Persimmon, lemon verbena,

Persimmon, lemon verbena, "snow"

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Turk - Fatih Tutak
at Now Bomonti
Cumhuriyet Mahallesi, Silahşör Caddesi, Yeniyol 1, Istanbul
turkft.com
Closed on Monday 
Menu with 4 courses of your choice for 390 Turkish liras, around 65 euros


Sections

Carlo Mangio

An outdoor trip or a journey to the other side of the planet?
One thing is for sure: the destination is delicious, by Carlo Passera