Prior to visiting Turkey, I’ve never been a fan of Turkish delight or baklava. I always found it far too sweet and to me could never compete with a heavenly slice of cheesecake. However coming to Istanbul, or rather the Hafiz Mustafa dessert cafe my perception on baklava and Turkish delight changed drastically. This is where you get the real deal, freshly made artisanal products with the finest ingredients since 1864. I have sampled baklava and Turkish delight in other parts of Istanbul, but it’s clear Hafiz Mustafa takes the trophy.
Kahvalti, or Turkish breakfast is certainly an elaborate affair and not something to be rushed. However at the Wyndham Grand Levent, this is an absolute understatement! The breakfast I had in Istanbul is certainly fit for any Sultan. The breakfast staples are flat breads, eggs, lamb sausage, borek, tomatoes/cucumbers, cheese, olives, and of course Turkish tea. The sheer varieties of preserved olives and cheeses alone were staggering. What if you have a sweet-tooth? Pastries, rose petal jam, dried fruits/nuts, and Turkish delight dominated the sweets department. The best part was that I get to have access to this for the next few days :D.
Istanbul is the capital of Turkey and it has such an unique culture brought over from Europe and Asia. I’ve wanted to visit ever since I saw the Istanbul episode from Anthony Bourdain’s: No Reservations. We mostly stayed at the Levent area, one of the main business districts on the European side of Istanbul.
For lunch on the first day, we didn’t want to travel too far for food and the hotel recommended Kosebasi for authentic Turkish food in the nearby vicinity. We soon arrived and since it was way over lunch service, we had almost the whole restaurant to ourselves except for a few other guests. Everything started well, but the ending left a somewhat bittersweet experience which I’ll elaborate on further.