Once a small boutique in Kuzguncuk, Homemade Aromaterapi and its 100% natural beauty products have come a long way. After moving into a larger space, the local boutique has now opened a new store in the upscale Nisantasi neighbourhood of Istanbul. Customers will have a really hard time choosing from their stellar range of products, which includes cold-pressed essential oils, natural deodorant with rose and geranium, lavender and rosemary facial cream, myrtle water tonic, mint and eucalyptus body scrub and much more. The boutique also has a men’s care line and hosts regular workshops covering aromatherapy and all its heavenly benefits.
Only open on Thursday and Friday nights for walk-ins, this secret bar transports you back in time, specifically to Istanbul in the 1930s. A glorious speakeasy, SalonCuma is given an elegant vibe of yesteryear by antique objects and furnishings, with excellent cocktails to match. This outfit also has a bespoke private events space that’s available for booking. Recently, SalonCuma began to host musical acts on Friday nights, including acoustic sessions with talented local performers.
The talented chef Pinar Tasdemir, who has worked at some of Istanbul’s most prestigious fine-dining institutions, has finally opened her very own place. Tucked away on a side street in the beautiful Bosphorus coast neighbourhood of Yenikoy, there’s something quite Nordic about the restaurant’s minimalist interior. The menu, however, is firmly Aegean and a bit experimental, including intriguing creations such as scorpion fish served alongside roasted chard, bisque and olives; or sutlac (rice pudding) with vanilla and edible flowers.
Hiding in plain sight, Pilevneli’s second art gallery in Istanbul is housed in a former liqueur and cognac factory that was built by the French Modernist architect Robert Mallet-Stevens in the 1930s. The works of contemporary artists from Turkey and abroad are exhibited in a building sporting gorgeous Art Deco details and wide-open spaces flooded with plenty of natural light. Pilevneli’s first gallery in the Dolapdere district is also worth a mention because of its equally stunning architecture, completed by award-winning Emre Arolat Architecture in 2017.
There was nothing very gourmet about Turkish street food until Alaf Kuruçeşme opened in the Kurucesme neighbourhood and took it upscale. In a modern dining room with a view of the Bosphorus, classic dishes are given a modern twist. For instance, try the kokorec (chopped and spiced lamb intestines) – which is reinterpreted as a sumptuous burger with a brioche bun, avocado sauce, sumac, red onion and parsley – or sample their take on the traditional pide (flatbread) featuring fresh prawns, thyme and olives from the southern Turkish city of Antakya. During the day, the restaurant also has a casual eatery downstairs that serves a smaller daily menu of delicious gourmet street eats.