ARKESTRA ISTANBUL: A CULINARY AND AUDIOPHILE DESTINATION
Introducing Arkestra: A restaurant and listening bar in Istanbul, Turkey, from husband-wife duo Chef-Patron Cenk Debensason and Debora Ipekel, former music business executive and NTS Radio host. Residing in a sprawling former 1960s residential villa, Arkestra made waves on the burgeoning Istanbulite culinary scene when it opened in September 2022, quickly gaining notoriety for Cenk’s imaginative cuisine, a defined ambience and the city’s first jazz-kissa inspired bar, dedicated to hosting international and local talent.
Cenk Debensason leads the kitchen with genre-defying cooking, drawing upon French techniques to create dishes inspired by local ingredients and which evolve with the seasons. Classically trained at the Institut Paul Bocuse (Lyon, France) and cutting his teeth alongside pioneering French chef Alain Senderens, one of the founding fathers of Nouvelle Cuisine, and Gary Danko at his Michelin starred San Francisco based restaurant, Cenk’s confident and bold style of cooking reflects such premium experience.
At Arkestra, every dish starts with a sketch and culminates with impressively plated results. A habit formed from Cenk’s time in Los Angeles where he established a sell out supper-club series: ‘The Cartoonist.’ Tuna Sashimi - Arkestra’s most ordered plate - brilliantly embodies these qualities, with sushi rice ice cream, daikon sprouts, puffed rice, garlic and onion chips, and a homemade ginger ponzu vinaigrette bringing all the elements together. Example highlights include:
Aubergine & Tare Cashew
tempura aubergine, cashew cream, hazelnut, basil, sea beans, salmon roe
Arkestra Katsu Sando
panko fried beef, home made shokupan, tonkatsu sauce
lemon & bell pepper couscous, bouillabaisse sauce, fennel, saffron rouille
duck breast, apicius sauce, daikon radish, ginger & apple chutney, dates
Steak Au Poivre
steak, potato terrine, black pepper beef sauce
lemon mascarpone filled agnolotti, basil pesto, pine nuts, parmesan
Truffled Chouq Craquelin
white truffle & vanilla ice cream choux balls, chocolate sauce, shaved black truffle
lemon cream, meringue, sable crumble, kaffir lime & coconut ice cream
Art Deco chandeliers, wood panelling and a playful mix of curved caramel coloured leather booths and off-white formica table tops set the scene for a refined yet casual dining experience. Floor to ceiling glass doors open onto a private courtyard secluded by trees and foliage for dining during the summer months.
THE LISTENING ROOM
Above the restaurant lies the Listening Room, an intimate bar with a spectacular sound system. Everything is bespoke; dim lighting and low cocktail tables define the space, whilst walls are elegantly covered in a hand painted palm tree mural. A vinyl collection lining the wall provides a library from which much-loved records can be chosen.
The Listening Room hosts a rotation of weekly events where local DJs and record collectors are invited to collaborate and renowned DJ’s fly in for one off sets. As with the menu, there are no boundaries, with genres ranging from funk, soul, disco; to jazz, house, hip hop and latin. Debora, who cut her teeth as a music programmer for Boiler Room, is no stranger to curating late night sets and bespoke music scenes. Recent names at Arkestra have included Chicago Disco Legend Sadar Bahar, Mexican record collector Coco Maria, London-based underground DJ Jonny Rock, celebrated Turkish DJ Barış K, and a surprise appearance by hip-hop legends Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) & Brother Ali.
Signature cocktails pack a punch and are served alongside a snack menu featuring Pomme Dauphine, Seafood Croquette, Steak Tartare Crostini and more - ultimate drinking food enhanced by Cenk’s polished touch. Example drinks include:
Salted Grapefruit Mule
vodka, orange liqueur, salted grapefruit cordial, spicy ginger
tequila, mezcal, lemongrass, coriander, agave, togarashi tajin
tequila, elderflower liqueur, sorrel, bitter lemon
LATER THIS YEAR
This December, an elegant bistro inspired space will open within the walls of Arkestra. Here an easy going shorter menu, designed for sharing with friends, will be served. Designed by celebrated architect Tayfun Mumcu, interiors will be colourful and exuberant, yet sophisticated and entirely in keeping with Arkestra’s overall aesthetic.
Arkestra is situated in the chic neighbourhood of Etiler, at Dilhayat Sokak No: 28 Besiktas. Opening hours are Monday - Saturday, 18:00 - 24:00 and The Listening Room is open Monday - Saturday: 17:00 - 01:00. To book a table, visit the website.
For more information, please contact Dianne Osano at email@example.com.
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