A Flavor Stop From Istanbul: Camlica Marmara Et

Çamlıca Marmara Et is a delightful stop where almost every form of Istanbul is synthesized and reflected… It is possible to find a piece from every element of Turkish cuisine in the restaurant. Both the natural, intimate and traditional tastes of the Anatolian geography and as well as the new flavors discovered with the understanding of gourmandism brought by modern times… The restaurant is frequented by those who do not want to stay connected to a certain culinary culture and restrict the richness of Anatolia’s understanding of food and beverage. Most importantly, this synthesis is not a chaos, but rather a taste carnival and captivating its regulars. You can feel the talismanic touches of every corner of the Anatolian geography in the harmony composed of a combination of these beautiful flavors.

It is certain that ‘Every business has a kitchen’ word comes from the details remaining in the background of the food and beverage sector, in other words, the tricks of the business. Mr. Selami Demirtas, owner of Çamlıca Marmara Et, sincerely tells the secrets of this special flavor range of the place as someone in the kitchen of the business. Just like the famous writer says “Food eaten in pleasure and joy are easily digested.” we are having a conversation with pleasure.

Starting From The Kitchen Of Business
Çamlıca Marmara Et is a brand new place, first we ask the story of the foundation. Mr. Demirtas answers by kind of associating with his personal past.

“I have always believed that there is a necessity of cutting teeth on no matter how much you are educated, well informed or even learned about food and beverage sector. Because without going through some things; without learning through trial-and-error you cannot internalize. I, as a humble person, have reached the title of management after being a busboy, waiter, chiefdom, and managing. I can say that I experience every day the advantages of having learned the operation and tricks of all departments of the sector through experience. Since the mid-1990s, for almost twenty years, I had been the business manager in person at the Social Facilities of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. You are well aware that this is a sort of Public Service. The whole time I have been thinking about putting my own business into practice. Eventually, upon the consultations we had with our intellectual friends in our environment, the idea of opening a small space around Üsküdar-Çamlıca, which is the neighborhoods we are familiar with, was formed. As a result of our search, we came across the place where you are in now, and when we saw that it has a greater capacity than we had imagined, a drawback first arose; then when we rolled up our sleeves and said ‘Bismillah’, everything went well, and the Camlıca Marmara Et Restaurant was put into practice in this way.” At the beginning of 2017, we took over this place with the name right of ’Marmara’.  We had an animal farm we had built before. We were supplying meat to some public institutions. When the place was located in Çamlıca district, the names of Marmara and Çamlıca became united. Later on, we liked it very much.

Anatolian Flavors Under One Roof
The restaurant’s food presentation is dominated by a new taste of traditional Turkish cuisine, especially the kebabs of the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia regions, blended with steak style. It describes the method of the meal and the choice of meat in its element until it reaches the tips.

“First of all, I must state that; It is a great advantage for us that we are familiar with every stage of the meat we offer to our guests in our restaurant. We have a farm with a capacity of 1200 heads in Bigadic district of Balıkesir. We supply all the meat we use here as carcasses from our own farm. Then we process them in hygienic conditions with experts and use them in kebabs, meatballs and other bakery dishes. When it comes to our food variety, you know that Istanbul is a cosmopolitan metropolis. There are our customers coming from every corner of our country with different tastes. The idea that we should reflect this variety of portfolio to our dishes was always in our minds while organizing our menu. For instance, our Beyran soup is famous. We make kebabs from Antep, Urfa region. We make lahmacun according to different regions. There are a variety of pide from the Black Sea region and we serve these with the taste fitting their own methods. By the way, our understanding of menu is a little different. We do not have a standard menu extended to each customer written in text for example. This is the most distinctive characteristic. You know… How it is said, its our trademark. We serve all of our dishes visually. Our guests see the products in the meat section, look at their prices and create their own menu. They determine the amount and variety according to their taste and budget.”

While thinking that the food variety and flavour difference of Çamlıca Marmara Et is because of supply method, we see the place has a stone oven. Mr. Selami Demirtas continues as indicating that the reason for preference of the stone oven is the flavour it adds to the dishes.

“It was inconceivable not to put an oven when designing the physical possibilities of the restaurant. We decided to eliminate options such as rational or black oven in our research. Because we wanted to present very famous pide varieties from Black Sea region to our customers as well. Stone oven made the products more delicious and at right consistency. We have got efficiency in this regard. Thanks to our oven, we can have Antep and Urfa-style lahmacun, pide varieties, most importantly mushroom with kasar cheese and optional lamb casserole on our menu. In other words, I can say that we preferred stone oven for adding an extra flavour.”

Flavours Of Çamlica Marmara Et
Every flavour stop has special foods or desserts that cannot be forgotten its taste. Even restaurants try to gain frequenters to become famous for these flavours by featuring these aspects. When we ask about the flavour of Çamlıca Marmara Et settling in the palatial memories, He answers with counting different features of each like not wanting to injustice to any of his food.

“It is hard to specify a particular flavour, to feature one flavour for Çamlıca Marmara. We cannot make such a differentiation. Probably, this is because we take care of all of our food and desserts separately. It is going to be stereotype, but each food of ours is special. However, our meatball and kebab flavors are more assertive because we are a steakhouse. Akcaabat meatball, butcher’s meatball, our oven dishes and our pide varieties is in demand mostly. Besides that, lamb delight, beef delight, rib steak varieties each of them is another flavour; there are a great demand for them too. Speaking of oven products, besides the pide varieties baked in the oven, we also have desserts. Kunefe and katmer desserts are baked in the stone oven.  Again, there is also sutlac, a very delicious taste, that we produce from saffron. It is a particularly recommended taste of ours. During the winter season, it is possible to find desserts like fruit desserts, pumpkin desserts or quince desserts in our institution.”

We leave Çamlıca Marmara Et Restaurant, which we enter on a sweet Istanbul evening, by spending a few hours turning into the peaceful and delicious feast. We are like listening to a vast saz sema which gives wonderful sounds from every corner with rich presentations of Turkish cuisine. Hicazkar stirring in a corner of our mind while coming, resuming its singing.

NOTES

Çamlica Marmara Et
Çamlıca Marmara is a four-storey restaurant. On the ground floor, there is a meat section where customers create their menus; it also has an area facing the garden. At the same time, there is an entrance hall for 120 people. There is the terrace upstairs. On the third floor, there is a VIP section for 50-60 people allocated for special customers. On the fourth floor on the other hand, a saloon of hookah café. The kitchen of the restaurant serves as public. The food ordered by the customers are presented as cooked in front of everyone in the kitchen.

Menu Selection
A place that established its understanding of presentation on not imposing the menu… Their choices are created in accordance of the budget and wishes of the regulars. They can determine the flavour, variety and pricing policy according to a unique understanding. One of the most special aspects of Çamlıca Marmara is the variety of food changing according to personal preferences. Hygiene, smiling, quality service are the other subjects they are assertive about.

By: S. Bahar Alban / Photo: Sevgi Ödemiş

 *This article was  published in the  July– August issue of Marmara Life. 

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