If you need to remember only one restaurant in Istanbul, it must be Changa. The restaurant is nested in the heart of Beyoglu, a charming neighborhood of Istanbul located off the beaten tracks. The staff was warm and helpful, don’t take it for granted in Istanbul as we’ve had a few bad experiences.
Bread and mysterious appetizer. We enjoyed the surprising consistency of the bread, a mix of a bagel and a French traditional baguette.
We started on the menu with a few grilled calmars coming with lemon aïoli. The dish was fresh and flavorful, the calmars were perfectly grilled and topped by a few hijiki seeds, which gave an interesting Japanese twist and a different texture to the appetizer. The lemon sauce was good too, though a bit bland.
Then we went with the chicken kadaïf, I first thought it was some kind of chicken millefeuille which must be the best way to describe it. Kadaïf is a traditional turkish pastry made of long noodle threads and often filled with chopped nuts like those used for baklava.
It was a bold choice, the texture was very surpsiring but the chicken was tender, with delicious thyme flavors. The puff pastry enveloped well the dish. But enough daydreaming because kadaïf was quickly soaked in the sauce and became a bit flabby.
As usual, my French pal avoided meat and preferred going with a grouper filet. This big and ugly fish was perfectly cooked by the chef at Changa that night. It was cooked to perfection.
It came with a light mint sauce, which didn’t overwhelm the flavors of the fish, and with grated parsnips giving a nice fresh twist.
The dessert was clearly on the fancy side. Changa took a fresh take on poached pears by adding delicious sugar floss.
Because we’re not fluent in English yet, we didn’t pay attention to what could sugar floss mean in French. When the pears came topped by a mountain of sugar floss, it was a little surprise to be honest. The pears were rightly poached and the sugar floss gave an interesting light taste which balanced well the flavors of the wine.
Changa is clearly worth a try if you pass by Istanbul: the menu was not too expensive and the chef offers original turkish cuisine.
For more information about the menu and hours, or to book a table at Changa, click here.
Siraselviler Cad. No. 47
Taksim, Istanbul, Turquie
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