July 13, 2011 Off

Changa (Istanbul: Cihangir)

By in 12: Istanbul

There are lots of chichi gourmet fine dining options in Istanbul but we soon realized their price aren’t so affordable. Istanbul is no longer a bargain European destination. The price range is basically on par with major western European cities like London and American cities like NYC/LA, which means about $25-40 for main course, $10-12 for dessert and $10-20 for a glass of wine/cocktails. For a two weeks vacation, we could only afford 1-2 fancy meals so we picked Changa, a long time favorite since 1999.

Changa is one of the first modern fusion Turkish restauranst in town. Converted from a 1900s Art Nouveau building, the slick modern interior was quite unexpected. And of course they played those electronic lounge music in the background (see this). Despite the many empty tables on the 1st and 2nd floor and the 3rd floor being completely empty, they sat us at the bar because we didn’t have reservation. At the bar, we got to stare at Mao statues.

Good bread and chips.

Mixed mushroom stuffed hinkal (Georgian dumpling) with creamy parmensan, quince sauce and lapsang souchang tea leaves.
Interesting description and the sauce was indeed interesting tasting. It’s rich and flavorful. The tea leaves added a touch of tea aroma which worked quite well with the creamy sauce.

Sea Bass with Creamy basil sauce and hazelnut studded apple leather.
Very amazing! The sea bass were rolled into three rolls, fresh and perfectly cook. The creamy basil sauce was very tasty, light and had lots of subtle flavors. The crispy hazelnut and apple topping add a touch of acidicness which went very well with the sauce.

Chili pepper and red wine poached pears with buffalo milk mastic ice-cream and sugar floss (Pismaniye).
We also called it “Andy Warhol” the dessert. I love the sugar floss (Pismaniye) very much, it’s a traditional Turkish sweet made with flour and sugar and hand pulled into fine strands. Fluffy and airy, it’s a bit like cotton candy without the sticky finish. The sugar strands just melt into your mouth. The wine poached pear was very good too.

All the dishes were superb and interesting, I wish we had more budget to try the appetizers. Changa has an offshoot called Muzedechanga at one of the chichi Bosphorus neighbourhood and it’s supposedly very good as well. Hopefully we will have opportunities in the future to visit Istanbul again so we could try it.

Cihangir Mh. Sıraselviler Caddesi 47, 34433 Istanbul
0212 251 7064


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