From the street, White Mill looks
like an organic mini market/waiting area. Venture upstairs and transport yourself to English Country Garden, packed with Turkish celebrities at weekends – not that you’ll know who any of them are by anything other than their attitude. The fresh feeling café bar opens out onto picnic bench style tables, Real Trees, Real Grass, (real cats, feline haters beware) in the middle of Cihangir’s backstreets.
The original concept had been for a totally organic menu, but the organic idea has yet to really catch on in Turkey, despite them being the world’s third organic producer. Particularly Turkish men fear some kind of Vegetarian re-assignment surgery will be carried out without their consent if they opt for organic so, for the time being, the menu features only 20%, denoted by the leaf symbol next to the dish. (NB the menu has completely changed since I was there and I don’t know how much of this is true now.)
There’s more than a nod to Turkish cuisine on the Mediterranean influenced menu, but some interesting twists keep the more adventurous diner satisfied. Potato stuffed chard leaves with red peppers and mustard; an orange dressed green salad with broccoli; a very full bowl of zucchini pasta, cooked al dente with homemade pesto, was nice if unremarkable – the parmesan was the strongest taste, while basil and garlic were not as prevalent as you might expect from home-made pesto.
The standout dish was the grilled salmon on spinach with potato cakes and red wine sauce. The huge slice of fish was perfectly, cracklingly cooked (as long as you like fish well done), sweetened by a drizzle of rich sauce and the buttery potato cakes were good enough to be a dish by themselves.
On the house recommendation, I tried pumpkin ice-cream, made locally by a specialty ice-cream maker. Served as a slice with crushed walnuts in an homage to kabak tatlısı (pumpkin dessert), it made me nervous as I have very little time for vegetables traveling outside their savory homes. But it beat the pants off the white chocolate cheesecake that we ordered as insurance, sweet with a caramel undertone.
The meal summed up White Mill. Ordering the things I wouldn’t normally because, in the case of salmon, I think I can cook it myself, or the ice-cream that I expected not to like, showcased their approach of quality classics and stealthy innovations.
Prices for dining are very reasonable considering the location and portion size. Add the cocktail menu with house specials like passion fruit vodka and frozen cocktails, all with real fruit, and White Mill’s lively after work venue becomes a place to stay until only you and the cats are left.
Susam Sok No:13
0212 292 2895 – 96
To read the story behind this review, go here.