This newly-opened restaurant proves that the open fire cooking concept works well not only on camping grounds but also on top of a five-star hotel in the center of Istanbul. In case you have any doubts about what a center-staged stove does on a Bosphorus-facing rooftop in Karaköy, our answer is simple: it makes pretty much everything on the menu.
Mürver is the newest brainchild of the acclaimed Istanbul chef Mehmet Gürs. His signature eatery, Mikla, has been awarded raving reviews by both the local and international community; knowing this, it is easy to have high expectations for Mürver. The setting alone resembles Mikla: a hotel rooftop, a Bosphorus view, and a bar and lounge alongside the dining area–and this is where the resemblance comes to an end. Mürver is a much-welcomed departure from Mikla’s fine dining setup, which is noticeable from the lack of white tablecloth on the tables and the open, stove-dominated area where the culinary magic happens. Mürver’s setup also allows curious diners to take a peek into the back of the house, which sends them a message of honesty and accessibility. The same message applies to the menu price range that situates it amongst places more suitable for a casual after-work unwind.
Overseeing Mürver’s kitchen operations is executive chef Yılmaz Öztürk. Upping the ante of the smoking game, Öztürk has introduced and mastered various fiery cooking techniques used at the restaurant, some of which include wood-oven, wood-grilled, slow-cooked, and smoked cooking techniques.
For starters, smoked tongue with pickled green apple, ash-roasted octopus with Aegean greens, or calamari cooked over an open fire are some of the most interesting menu options. For your main course, try the Thrace lamb and dry-aged beef, which come with a plethora of side dishes such as firik pilavı, yogurt, or spicy fruit compote (hoşaf). Keep in mind that these main course dishes are served in portions for two. Leaving enough room for dessert might be a challenge, but if you decide to accept it, you’re in for a truly delicious treat. We recommend Mürver’s burnt sütlaç. Inspired by traditional oven-baked pudding with the perfect combination of crispy, smoky, and milky, this plate is way more than what you’d expect.
Since Mikla is known to have one of the best restaurant wine lists in Istanbul, Mürver doesn’t disappoint with anything less. The full bar, featuring signature cocktails, and lounge area alone are well-worth the visit before you begin your culinary feast. It might be overwhelming to try all of the food and drinks in one go, but we guarantee you will be coming back for more at Mürver.
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