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A standout character: Chef Çiğdem

Tonight we’re pleased to introduce you to our charming, globe-trotting, Chef Çiğdem, always on the lookout for a new taste sensation.

You’ve traveled extensively around the world. What was your favourite food destination? Why?
My favourite food destination so far was Cape Town where I loved the calamari and the shrimps. Most probably the reason was because they were freshly caught from the ocean and they were huge. I went to a restaurant called Ocean Basket: the atmosphere was really nice, there were seals loafing around,  and the food — like i just said — was really impressive!

Where would you next like to travel to?
I want to visit Moscow or/and Naples the next when I get a chance. Besides the Russian kitchen, I really want to visit the museums and the casinos. And why Naples? Well, I want to go there to refresh my mind and become more creative and impressive since the place is amazing itself.

Tell us about working with beer and food: what’s it like? Do you have any input in the brewing process?
Working in a brewing company has been a very different experience so far. In every menu item, we use different beers —Karbon, Hop & Glory and IPA, for example — in different dishes, like our Karbon cake, chicken liver pate, beer battered fish and chips. In order to combine the food and the beer we will continue to try new beers and new food combinations. I personally have some new ideas for beers and their tastes that we can flavour the food with them, and hopefully we’ll be starting to this new small project next year.

What’s your favorite beer at the Bosphorus Brew Co?
The very first time I met with the Hall family, I had the chance to taste Hop & Glory. And since then, it is my favourite. A close second is the Istanbul Pale Ale which we already use an ingredient in many of the menu selections. I have to say, it is my best friend in the kitchen.

How did you become a Chef?
That was a long road. First, I started studying in Yeditepe University’s Faculty of Economics. I finished my studies but then I realized that there wouldn’t be any satisfaction in a job requiring that kind of education, and luckily the year I graduated, the university opened a new department: Gastronomy and Culinary Arts. So I said “Why not?”  And that was just the beginning … now here I am working at the pub!

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A standout character: Ms. Ozlem Unsal

We’re excited to present the Bosphorus Brewing Co’s very first community member interview is with the lively, passionate intellectual, Ms. Ozlem Unsal, from City University, London

You’ve almost completed your Ph.D … what is your field of study? My research is based on the recent transformation of Istanbul under the forces of neo-liberal urbanism, so you can say that my field of study is urban sociology. More specifically I look at how the communities of inner-city poverty areas get mobilized around their rights once they get pressured by urban renewal schemes. Sulukule and Tarlabasi are the two neighbourhoods that I am focusing on.

Which beer do you enjoy most at the Bosphorus Brewing Company: Hop & Glory or Karbon? What other kinds of beer would you like to see from us? I am a proper stout enthusiast so Karbon would be my favourite but to be honest BB Co has been doing such a great job that at times it is very difficult for me to choose between Hop and Glory, and Karbon — even though Halic Gold is a tad sweet for my taste I sometimes find myself tending towards that option as well. What can I say, I have a love for beer so I welcome almost all options as long as we are talking about good beer! I think I like what I see at the BB Co so far so all I could ask for would be endless supply of what is already there – especially the ales and the stout!

You travel between Nicosia, London, and Istanbul; Tell me one thing — other than family and friends— that you love in each of these places. Food, certainly. Cyprus, where I come from, is a small island but I think it has a very humble yet special culinary culture that deserves to be cherished. I cook, eat and love Cypriot food. Istanbul, needless to say, has a lot to offer in terms of good food as long as you eat at the right place, or shop for quality ingredients. I also find that Istanbul is a definite winner when it comes to street food, compared to most European cities. Talking about London, I don’t even know where to start from since I don’t think there is any limit to the range of culinary pleasures it offers. People can keep discussing forever -if they wish- whether London has acquired the essence of ‘true cosmopolitanism’, or not, but I can confidently say that the culinary culture has already done that. I would also like to note that I hate it when people speak poorly of British cuisine. I think it has its very own depth and complexity just like any other cuisine and there is a lot to explore on that page. Show me someone who doesn’t like stilton cheese, apple crumble, or a proper roast with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings, and I’ll have a few words with them.

If you could invite anyone—living or dead—to supper who would you dine with and what would you serve? I would like to go for both scenarios: From the dead it would have to be my grandma who passed away in 2008. Very unfortunately I never got to cook for her and I think I owe her that since a substantial portion of my love for food comes from her. I would cook some of the most complex local Cypriot stuff that she cooked for us (the families and friends of her two daughters) for many years both because I knew she loved it as much as we did and also because I could ask her of some details and tips which I feel are missing in my cooking — very selfish. From the living I would go for Lena Dunham, one of my latest discoveries within the young writer/comedian category. She would make a good laugh and be easy with the food. Our dinner would be a casual spread of avocados in a red onion and vinegar dressing, a fish pie and a big bowl of green salad. We would have quite a few beers to go with all that and finish the night off with a Nutella cheesecake if our blood sugar levels hit bottom.

What’s your favourite word? What’s your least favourite word? My favourite word could be ‘procrastination’, especially these days when I am trying to finish my PhD. It represents a big universe where all the random things that you do to escape from work transform into those things that actually provide you with the energy to get back to work. I cannot think of any other mechanism that works better than this and I also cannot think of any other word that captures a universe as such. My least favourite word on the other hand would have to be ‘good’ as in the answer to ‘how are you doing?’. It is often the end result of a rhetorical dialogue and it pretty much means nothing. It bypasses too many things and helps boil most details (that might be of worth) down to a matter of insignificance.



Brews at the Right Mouth-Watering Temperature

The Guide – Istanbul

It’s a Tuesday night when we decide to sidle into Istanbul’s second microbrewery which we’d been hearing rumors about for months. Just opened less than a week before, the Bosphorus Brewing Company did not disappoint with anything from its beers, to its menu, or its decor. Plus, we quickly discovered as we chilled by the bar and tried the beer tasting menu (a shot worth of every beer the pub currently has on tap accompanied by wee glasses of water for easy hydration), it’s already become an expat favorite.


The expat owners, Philip and Jean Hall, started thinking about opening up a brewery pub two years ago after Philip started missing the “proper beer” of England. At first he dabbled with brewing kits, but found that every kit produced the same flavored beer, which was when the former chemical engineer turned to brewing from scratch. The result is the Bosphorus Brewing Company.


Every hop and malt used in the process has been imported from England, as are the malts used even in Efes, we were surprized to learn, since the enzymes can’t be found in Turkey. At the moment, the pub offers five beers on tap -İçmedik, a light ale; Istanbul Pale Ale, their on-target IPA; Brew 81, a light lager; Haliç Gold, a Belgian-styled ale comparable to Blue Moon; and Karbon Imperial Stout, a stout which was so popular with some customers that the brewery had run out by our visit. Each beer is served at its optimum temperature, from 11.5 ° C to 12 ° C, with 1.5 units of carbonation per unit of beer, lending light bubbles.


The pub also has an excellent menu created by Jean with British pub classics and Turkish favorites which Turkish chef Çiğdem Alagök cooks up. We highly recommend sharing the Ploughman’s Platter, with homemade apple chutney, chicken pate, real cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, pickles, and toast, as well as picking up a side of spicy cocktail sausages to accompany a night out. The menu also features lamb curry, bangers and mash (made with beef sausages), clove köfte, and fried mussels. For dessert, the bread and butter pudding has just the right mix of egginess, sugar, and buttery goodness that we wouldn’t have minded having another, calories be damned.


The Bosphorus Brewing Company is definitely comfortable spot for families and expats despite its non-Istiklal location. The outpost has dark wood interiors, cozy bar stools, and muted beige lighting that made us feel that perhaps we weren’t in Istanbul at all, but perhaps in a UK village pub where everyone knew each other and had come to catch up over a pint before heading home. Then again we thought, as Tristan Hall, the son of the owners, told us about the Sunday roast the pub had started offering as well as the possibility to have the pub create special brews for customers’ special events or for the menu, perhaps we had been granted access to one of Istanbul’s very small villages and the spot would become a mainstay for the beer-loving expat. It’s certainly about Istanbul had some beer to brag about. Emekli Subay Evleri, Yıldız Posta Caddesi 1/1A, Gayreteppe; (0212) 288 64 99

Read More: Brews at the Right Mouth-Watering Temperature from The Guide Istanbul http://www.theguideistanbul.com/news/detail/928/Brews-at-the-Right-Mouth-Watering-Temperature#ixzz2GIvLRh1V



Brewing isn’t a simple process. It’s physically demanding, it’s mentally challenging, it’s where modern science meets alchemy. It’s roll-up your sleeves kind of work, monitoring minor differences and adjustments on site that may seem like only a matter of degrees on the thermometer but make a huge difference on the scale of taste. Yet taste is just the beginning. A good brew doesn’t finish in the keg, or in the glass. A real ale is the beginning of something wonderful … a conversation starter, the perfect partner to a special meal, or an evening huddled with good friends. To really enjoy a brew, you have to appreciate character, and not just the one in the glass, but those surrounding you. That’s why it isn’t simple. But it’s why it’s worth it, and why real character stands out.