What's a more perfect way to spend a Sunday than having brunch with a dear friend at a fabulous café, followed by a spontaneous visit to a modern art museum?
Tilly took me out to Namlı Gurme, a gourmet delicatessen/café in Karaköy right next door to the Güllüoğlu Baklava Café I raved about last month. A line out the door, people happily chatting away, enjoying large plates of cheeses, olives and cured meats— warm light bouncing off hanging red sausages and chilies— men in white jackets zipping from customer to customer behind glass cases of more cheese and various stuffed vegetables and other delicacies.
We shared a table with a very sweet Turkish couple, and unsure of the ordering procedure, we waited around wide-eyed like tourists, until a perky waiter informed us we were meant to go up to the glass cases and select what we wanted. What to choose? We followed our bellies and began gleefully pointing at anything and everything that caught out eyes.
Red chillies stuffed with white cheese, lentil patties with parsley, black-eyed peas salad, veggie egg fritters, bulghur tomato pilaf, brussel sprouts, cheeses and olives— oh my! I also couldn't resist choosing a mysterious fried oblong patty that turned out to be meat— there were a lot of white bits in it, so I'm not sure exactly where that meat was from, but it was delicious.
This humble café at the mouth of the Golden Horn has been delighting customers since 1929— and I've decided that there is no way you can visit Istanbul without stopping by. And why not grab a little baklava next door at Güllüoğlu Baklava while you're at it? What a treat. It's no wonder Namlı Gurme was just named "Istanbul's Best Breakfast" by TimeOut Magazine.
After contenting our bellies, we forced ourselves to brave the cold, wet February afternoon and walk the five minutes to Istanbul Modern, the Istanbul's modern art museum. IM has a modest yet lovely permanent collection that visually documents the history of Turkish modern art. The temporary exhibits can be quite something— although this time I was a little disappointed. I just have a hard time with video art. The museum is housed in a former shipping warehouse behind the stunning Nusretiye Camii in Tophane, right where the Bosphorus meets the Golden Horn. There's a marvellous view of Topkapi Palace, Aya Sofya and Sultanahmet across the water. I would have loved to show you some pictures— I had to stealthily snap these since it is strictly forbidden to take any photos inside IM, and I don't relish the idea of being kicked out of museums.