Bogazkesen Cad. Tomtom Kaptan Sk, No:18
Beyoglu, Istanbul 34433
+90 212 292 4467
Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine: €€€€
Chef de Cuisine: Kaan Sakarya
Chef Pâtissie: Aylin Yazıcıoğlu
This is all about contemporary dining on the highest level. I knew that Nicole only offered set menus, but even if the reviews only praise … I could never prepare myself so such a flavorful mystery culinary tour as my Christmas Eve 2014.
Of course, my evening started with a mad taxi ride, my driver didn’t speak one word of English, but he did when I left the car. He honestly didn’t have a clue where we were going. He stopped and asked the police, other taxi drivers, pedestrians … and …
It was like being in the roller-coaster going up and down the extremely narrow backstreets.
He got me there in time and when I left the car he had learned to say; Oh my God!!!!
If you’re thinking of having a flavorful evening too …. Tell the driver that you’re going to the Italian Embassy,
Nicole is situated on the top floor of the beautiful design Hotel Tomtom Suites – The Best of Small Luxury Hotel in Istanbul.
When arriving, I was welcomed by the young restaurant manager and I suppose he didn’t know how to handle that a woman was dining alone. So he gave me a very sweet compliment that I’m too pretty to eat alone.
They had given me the prime table in the restaurant … at first I felt I was misplaced, but after a couple of minutes sitting at the table I enjoyed it and the view was just stunning. I had Istanbul in in all its amazing lights by my feet.
After being served my vodka & tonic was it time to look at their two menus and I decided to go for the “Nicole” menu, because I wanted to try the Beef Cheek.
STEAK TATARE salmon roe, dill
SHRIMP carrots, tangerine
RED MULLET fennel, saffron
CAULIFLOWER hazelnut, parsley
QUAIL & DUCK PIE red cabbage, rosehip
SMOKED BEEF CHEEK green lentils, leek
They are also offering pairing wines with their menu, but with the evening before at “Gile” and how “happy” I was leaving – to get a new glass of wine with every course felt very dangerous.
The restaurant manager said he would choose suitable wines for me – I wish I had written down the name of the wines, they were absolutely superb and I didn’t save the bill.
Every dish that was put in front of me was so beautiful presented and so the flavor was so settled and well combined. Everything was in perfect harmony.
My senses really liked everything that was served – Cauliflower with hazelnuts, another dainty combination.
The Quail & Duck Pie was just utterly superb – not a pie person, mostly because of the pastry, but this pastry was just melting in my mouth.
Never eaten Beef Cheek before, slightly smoked – what a wonderful piece of meat so tender and it was a very mild dish – nothing overpowering there and I love lentils, a such a well-balanced dish.
Then it was time for the “Sweet Endings” – and I had the honor to meet Aylin, the pudding girl. *smile – to make my Christmas Eve special she served me a glass of Kir Royal on the behalf of the restaurant together with her Beetroot sorbet with Ginger Cream.
That sorbet I was one of the best things I ever eat …. I could have a big bowl of it for breakfast the following morning. That was just “heavenly”- when that ginger flavor kicked in.
I got 3 desserts, if I include the sorbet, my second sweet ending was Pomelo, pink grapfruit, clementine, orange and Dilek Alble cake…. The last was another exquisite surprise; warm and chilled chocolate mousse.
Aylin told me that she has only been a Chef Pâtissie for 10 years and are schooled in Paris. She started when she was 37 and she just loves her job. That was so noticeable in her work too – full of passion.
She is married to Kaan, Chef de Cuisine, what powerful couple and so very talent.
To sum up my evening at “Nicole” – SIMPLY THE BEST, but there was one little thing that annoyed me and that was that my first dish was presented before I had finished my pre-dinner drink. Even the sun has spots. So many restaurants make that little mistake – so Nicole is in very good company.
The bill came to 350Lira/152$/£100/129€/1220SEK include little extra tip (the restaurant adds service to the bill – which I like) – and I departed very happily from my money.
It’s going to be very difficult for another restaurant (anywhere) to beat that experience, but we will see what Hong Kong and Japan can come up with in April.
“People who love to eat are always the best people”
Images provided by and thanks to:
Gallery 1; nicole-facebook/theguideistanbul.com/hotspots-mekanist.net
Gallery 2; nicole-facebook/tripadvisor.com/timeoutistanbul.com
Gallery 3; thehedonista.com/tripadvisor.com/theguideistanbul.com/tripadvisor.co.uk