Çiya Restaurant, Kadiköy, Istanbul

Last night, David and I went to Kadiköy with our friends Tayfun and Yasemin. There they introduced us to Çiya (pronounced Chiya), an amazing restaurant they had found. Çiya specialises in Turkish regional cuisine and, because their repertoire of dishes is so vast (more than 1,000), they have a different menu every day. Even then the choice is overwhelming, there are 50 different types of meat kebab alone!

Tayfun, Yasemin, Me and David, outside the restaurant.

Çiya's owner/chef, Musa Dağdeviren, travelled all over Turkey collecting his recipes, even going into people's homes to cook with them. The result is an extraordinary culinary experience. When we looked at the menu, we hardly knew where to start, as the food was unfamiliar to us. We finally decided to order a variety of dishes to share.

We began with stuffed, dried aubergine, vine leaves stuffed with cheese, lamb stew, spinach in yoghurt, and some small balls of mashed vegetables. This was eaten with puffed up pita bread and washed down with freshly squeezed mulberry juice, and was absolutely delicious. This was followed by a kebab dish, and then a wonderful selection of desserts, made from different candied fruits and vegetables. We will definitely include this restaurant as a special Turkish experience for future visitors.

Recently we were bothered by a very irritating noise. For ages we couldn't locate it. It turned out to be the extractor fan on the roof of the next-door building. No one else seemed bothered by the noise, but it was driving us crazy. I managed to get a message to the restaurant to which the extractor belonged, with the help of two friends, Gür and Onür. They responded quickly, as by then the whole structure was visibly shaking, and workmen soon arrived.

I never fail to be amazed at how nonchalant the Turkish workmen are (no sign of 'elf and safety here). I missed the best shot of them hauling up the new motor, freely dangling on a rope, as they leaned over the edge, but here they are happily walking about, with one of them perilously balanced, trying to free the housing on the old motor - not a safety harness in sight. I'm pleased to say that the mission was safely completed, albeit in the dark, and no one came to any harm.

The grinning workman on the right, posing for his photo, is leaning
on the new motor which they manhandled up into the casing,
after removing the old one.

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