The urge to comfort eat must come from a time when our ancestors hibernated and stuffed themselves beforehand to provide that extra layer of fat for surviving until spring. What better way to satisfy such a primitive need than vats of melted cheese and melted chocolate? I was already sold on this basic premise alone but learnt there is much more to fondue at this small, friendly restaurant.
Cheese fondue comes with toasted bread chunks that should be dipped and swirled in an “S” shape for maximum coverage and is prepared with only half a glass of wine so as not to overpower the flavour. Those who prefer their food more bacchanalian can request the other half of the glass. We were eternally indebted to the waiter for initiating us into the secret crusty, cheesey layer at the bottom of the fondue pot that we might otherwise have missed.
Thinking this must be the pinnacle of the fondue experience, I wondered how something called Chinese fondue fit with a Swiss creation. It is the thinnest of beef slices, rolled up on the fondue fork and rested in the simmering vegetable consommé for 20 seconds cooks to melt-in-the-mouth perfection.
The chef also prepares his own sauces to dip the meat into. A fresh mustardy one, a surprisingly good curry, mushroom, Café de Paris and a not too spicy chilli are so more-ish the restaurant cleverly anticipates diners will want to carry on after the meat is gone and serves chips on the side. Apparently some customers get carried away (a charitable explanation for their peasantry) and spear their chips into the fondue pot. After the meal is over, the broth can be eaten separately. An unexpected delight, it was so rich and nutritious tasting you could live off that alone for months.
Saving room for dessert was hard but the chocolate fondue was the one I had been most excited about. Using Lindt milk chocolate with seasonal fruits (orange, apple, banana, blackberries) and crepe rolls for dipping, this is pure indulgence. It’s unfortunate that humans can’t sleep ‘til February rather than having to spend the next two weeks at the gym to work it all off.
A fish fondue can be prepared if ordered in advance, as can white chocolate. Wield your fork carefully as, if anything falls into the fondue pot, that person traditionally picks up the bill!
Zeytinoğlu Cad. 3, (Akmerkez Karşısı) Etiler
0212 351 4951