After a brief, sticky affair with baklava, my relationship with Turkish desserts has been largely unfulfilling, but I’ve never abandoned hope and always follow up on the recommendations of Turks. Since I started talking about my various disappointments with local sweets, every single person has suggested I go to the historical İnci and try the profiteroles for which they are famous. Some even claim İnci were the original profiterole makers, which may be true at least within Turkey, but I have a feeling the French might have something to say about a more ambitious interpretation of “the first”.
Or, perhaps, they’re right and the Turks did invent this particular brand of profiterole as, although to the untrained eye, it bears a strong likeness to the classic dessert, the similarity ends at the first mouthful. The chocolate sauce is plentiful and glossy but tastes as if it had been made from synthetic chocolate developed for astronaut survival packs. Presumably it has been made from the range of chocolates İnci also sells, which doesn’t bode well for that. The soggy choux pastry encases confectioner’s custard rather than cream, adding to the sensation that your tastebuds are trying to work through cotton wool.
Service was canteen like, with the offending dish just sitting on the counter to be taken self-service, but prices are low. Bizarrely, for a café, neither tea nor coffee was available. If you’ve never eaten real, French style, profiteroles before then it’s conceivable you could like İnci. It’s been around a long time and guide books and locals swear by it but, on both counts, I’m baffled as to why.
İstiklal Cad. No: 124/2, Beyoğlu