Review: Mikla

25 December 2015

What an awful way to start Christmas… Room switch at 3am, new room was beyond hot and stuffy and they couldn’t fix it — and windows open to…the hotel hallway… And of course, I fell asleep after sunrise just to be woken up by DRILLING again. This hotel, the Doubletree Istanbul Old Town, is BEYOND a disaster…

I was basically a zombie all day, and just put my earphones on and tried to plot out the next part of my trip as I dozed off a few times. I felt like crap by the time I decided to head out… Istanbul is just not doing it for me, even outside… I didn’t want to eat, so after wandering a bit I went back and just did the same thing, and took a very long shower…

I decided to head to my dinner early tonight. I was very much looking forward to this dinner at Mikla — which was surprisingly ranked #96 on the World’s Best list. I made the trek there by Metro and a stroll and got to the Marmara Pera hotel and headed to the rooftop restaurant.

Got there and they were still setting up, but invited me to the bar for a drink. Good move, and I got a martini and had the best view of Istanbul you can imagine… It was cold outside so I was happily alone, which was what I needed. What a trying trip… Knackered, and I have to get up at 4am tomorrow for the next flight…

I finished the drink and was led to my table, which also had a wonderful view. I took on the tasting menu happily, but since I skipped lunch I asked them to “add” one extra a la carte dish if it was possible, and they said sure. I took the wine pairing too. I chilled out for a little when the amuse arrived.

AB-cream-lamb shoulder

Nothing too special, but a cream dish with braised lamb shoulder. This was paired, surprisingly, with a wee local sparkling. Not bad at all. I relaxed when they poured a Capadocian white with the first course.

01-celeriac

This was the vegetable opening. The celeriac was excellent, full of flavour. Absolutely excellent, actually one of the best things all night. The sliced beet and other vegetables added to a nice beginning. The same wine was poured again for the second dish.

02b-anchovies

Hamsi, or local anchovies, fried. Rather nice, as I love anchovies. Good flavour here. I’m pretty happy so far with this start! Then they switched to a red, also from Capadocia, for the next item.

03-dried beef

Dried beef tenderloin, a dish you see often, was pretty ordinary. The sunchokes, however, were an unhappy addition. Tummy was already stressed from this trip, this is something I usually avoid and this I just pushed aside… No fault of theirs, but just not for me.

At this point we had my extra dish that I had picked out from the a la carte menu, the mantı

04-manti

Now why would I order this when I was headed to khinkali-heaven (well, Tbilisi) tomorrow? But it looked good. However, it was very ordinary, nothing very special about these wheat-based dumplings, the lamb inside was not that great. Oh well, it was filling tho…

We went back on the regular track and we flipped back to a white, a chardonnary from Analolya, for the next course, the grouper.

05-grouper

Now this was just not a good piece of fish. Tough, thick brick… The vegetables were much better. Oh dear, this meal is starting to slide downward, sadly… Then we flipped back to red, also from Anatolya, as we got some lamb.

06-lamb

Oh dear, this meal is going downhill fast. This was way overcooked, the lamb was starting to not taste with good consistency. Again, the vegetables were better… I was actually glad to realise this was the last of the savouries…

We moved to the next part of the meal but a combination of disappointment and tiredness got the best of me, and I didn’t enjoy the last three items much at all…

7-desserts

The raw milk cheese and honey was pretty ordinary, the sütlaç, or milk pudding again pretty ordinary, and a closing pastry. I was pretty zonked by then… I needed two coffees to get myself going.

As I walked down to the Metro, I thought what a shame. I think we paid for the view again. Nicole’s cooking was far, far better, but somehow this place (probably has a PA budget) got onto that really skewed San Pellegrino list. Why do I even look at that list is beyond me… But I am spent…this trip has been a disaster…

Off to Tbilisi at 4am…

Mikla
The Marmara Pera
Meşrutiyet Caddesi 15, Beyoğlu
İstanbul, Türkiye

PS: I complained when I got back to the hotel and the only staffer that cared actually stepped in to get things sorted (room temperature). The last night was finally a good night, but unfortunately I had a 3.30am alarm…so basically yeah, 3 of 4 nights at this crap hotel I had to move out of a room between 3-4am…

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