I have been waiting for that phone call. Reserved our seats before knowing the menu, date, of course it did not matter. My only concern was to be there, to have a seat, to dine, to enjoy. And then Uğur called, telling me sweet things like menu, date, timing… I confirmed and reconfirmed!
This year was the 11th new year lunch, the famous celebratory meal… This one day of the year Kantin works with reservations. A chef’s table of Şemsa Denizsel, if I may, for her customers, followers, addicts, admirers; us!. This is the one day of the year, she cooks the dishes that excite her, she prepares, she studies the menu for months.
Here was this year’s feast, on December 27th, Thursday at Kantin.
Steak tartare! Made from entrecote, combined with black pepper, red onions and served with melba toast made from the famous Kantin bread, served with again homemade sweet sour cucumber pickles. So balanced, I have to say better, far better from most of the Michelin starred restaurants I have been to.
Poached pear and white endive salad. The warm honey dressing made the white endives soft and delicate, where the garlicky emulsion drizzled over the mini lettuce leaves differ, a little sour, a little sweet, some crunchiness, some chewiness a bite of walnut and melted İzmir tulumu! More for me?
Then followed the golden pappardelle… She made the pappardelle with loads of köy yumurtası, villager eggs’ yolk, semolina. The turbot was local from Blacksea, the sauce was made from the turbot broth, saffron and the cooking juices, this delicate dish was finished with shaved fennel and cinnamon. Genius!
Duck breast with crispy skin, served with thin bulgur and a reduction of pomegranate, sour cherry and orange juice and herbs. The bulgur was steamed and finished with butter, the duck was cooked medium, the skin crispy, the meat succulent! A sweet, sour, meaty, buttery taste, melt in your mouth experience…
Then came the little hot cup of chocolate and orange mousse, topped with almond and segments of oranges… So petite!
As if that was not enough, the feast ended with the best brittle I had! Caramel, salt, early harvest pistachios from Gaziantep and rose petals! I could eat a block of that! (I admit, I asked for some more)…
Couple of hours I left this world, gone to chef heaven, ate and laughed and cherished there, and back again. This meal was the true messenger of a beautiful year awaiting us!
Şemsa Denizsel continues to amaze us with her creativy, her unique taste, her exquisite dishes, her sheer delight. Ellerine sağlık Şemsa! İyi ki varsın Kantin!