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Alaçati, Turkey

Innovative Anatolian cuisine with standout cocktails in Aegean coastal setting

What makes it special: Self-taught chef Kemal Demirasal is on a mission to celebrate Anatolian cuisine and his multi-course tasting menu takes diners through a series of imaginative twists on local favourites.

Chef’s CV: After 15 years as a professional windsurfer, Demirasal decided on a complete career change, but instead of training with the best chefs or going back to school, he taught himself to cook. He opened the original Alancha in spring 2013 and a second one in Istanbul in early 2015.

Typical dishes: Pistachio kebab, a dish originating from the Mesopotamian region, is served with ‘birdshit’ pistachio, while chilled barley soup inspired by a thousand-year-old Anatolian recipe is served in a large bowl made of ice. Other takes on local cuisine include Fish and Bread, Istanbul-style, and an elegant-looking version of the sticky-sweet baklava (pictured).

To drink: As much energy goes into the cocktails at Alancha as it does into the food, and diners can expect a special experience whether at the bar or at the table. From G’s Fizz to Eclipse, Locust and Bohemian Colada, each colourful concoction is stylishly served and several are freshly smoked at the bar.

Bonus point: Housed in the basement of Alancha’s Istanbul site is a state-of-the-art test kitchen, where Demirasal and his team try out their latest recipes. Guests on the ground-floor can look down into the R&D lab from a glass walkway above.

Images: Derya Turgut (food), Seren Dal (interior)

On the pass

  • Kemal Demirasal

Style of food

  • Modern Anatolian

Standout dish

  • Pistachio kebab