Watching someone else cook is, for reasons we may never understand, tremendously peaceful. A home cooked meal, prepared for the sole purpose of someone else’s enjoyment, is the greatest bit of selfless endeavor conceived, and is usually lost in the restaurant process where the cooking is concealed behind the closed metal swinging kitchen doors.
Gram is not like that. Most similar to the work space of a culinary-gourmet-centric best friend, the cooking process is entirely open to the spectator. One can say that the kitchen is both hidden and not, since the front area of the restaurant is a bakery, with pastries exhibiting themselves in the window facing the street, it takes an extra push to venture to the back where the cooks and communal eating space are located. Everything at Gram is casual, light like the effortless upward whip of the Meringue in the window, to the two hardwood tables in the back where people chatter away while two cooks in white chef’s jackets dice away on cutting boards and swirl the pans on the stove. Casual and light, where herbs, alongside pots and pans, hang upside down near the kitchen light and where the bread on the table, covered by a plaid towel, is always fresh.
The offerings at Gram change on a regular basis as evidenced by the temporary nature of the menu written with a marker on the glass covering the white walls. Every day between 12-3pm, except Sundays when the restaurant is closed, a lunch buffet is available with dishes made from light and seasonal ingredients. That day, the buffet had such options as Yeşil Elmalı Kısır (burghul salad with green apple shavings), Ev Yapmı Lor Peyniri (homemade soft and uncured goat’s cheese), and Enginarlı Yeşil Erikli Semizotu Salata (purslane salad with artichoke and greengage). One can either take a plate and choose from the buffet, have the items prepared for take away, or directly tell one of the cooks a selection from the marker-written-menu that features mains with such ingredients as salmon, lamb, Gravlax, roast beef, or sea bass to be prepared on site.
The dessert is a whole other category, since Gram is also a bakery. Everything from the warm muffin with chocolate and pistachio pieces to the Panna Cotta with linden, to the macaroons and brownies, await to be tasted one by one in their own delicious right. Sadly, Gram is not available for dinner because it closes at 6pm, but private dinner functions are on offer that can be reserved in advance with an impromptu menu prepared by the cooks. If there is one thing to be remembered about this unique eatery it’s that you will not feel even the tiniest bit of formality; everyone seems to know one another and simply arrive to enjoy the few moments shared together over conversation and excellent freshly prepared food. Meşrutiyet Caddesi No: 107D, Beyoğlu; P: (0212) 243 1048