Kosinitza

5 *****

Fish restaurants in Istanbul can get a bit samey, varying only in how much they charge for simple plates of grilled or fried fish. Kosinitza, a Time Out Food and Drink Award’s nominee in 2008, allows far more scope for originality by using fish and seafood as ingredients in dishes, rather than as the only thing on the plate.

The patron, Ibrahim, turned his 25 year passion for cooking into his business and his life when he opened in 2007. Trusting in the quality of his cuisine, he patiently waited out the first few quiet months until word spread, glowing newspaper reviews covered the walls and the place filled up, even on weeknights, with some diners travelling from as far as Ankara. The jovial host is involved in everything from planning the menu to chatting to guests to handpicking exactly equal sized tomatoes for dolma.

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The originality is immediately obvious with the cold meze selection. Salmon stuffed chard, mackerel with the sweetest onions imaginable, sardines nestling under a caramelised onion crust and a Dutch carnival speciality, raw ringa fish, particularly stood out.

Main courses also stretched the normal capabilities of fish. Cheese with fish might upset purists and with the parmesan topped baked sole, they might be right, neither flavor really stood out and didn’t do much to complement each other.

However, the seabass lasagne was creationary genius. The more robust fish and white wine béchamel were perfect bedfellows, laying between sheets of pasta stuck crispily to the dish. It was the kind of meal you wished wouldn’t end, but are too eager for the next mouthful to slow down.

Desserts, in keeping with a bistro as opposed to a meyhane, tend towards Italian and French styles. A huge relief as far as I am concerned. Seeing profiteroles on a menu in Turkey normally churns up past nightmares of soggy, confectioner’s custard dung piles but Kosinitza’s light, chocolate mousse filled pastry with white chocolate sauce was the real thing.

5 minutes from Üsküdar by bus or dolmuş makes this bistro only 10 minutes more effort than staying around Taksim. And the selection of world wines means you can treat yourself to a taxi home.

Kosinitza
İcadiye Caddesi Bereketli Sok No. 2A, Kuzguncuk
0216 334 0400
Open Tues-Sunday, reservations essential at weekends.

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