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Backyard is located in the Bebeköy neighborhood of Etiler, housed on the same grounds as the MAC sports club, this gives the restaurant a somewhat country-club atmosphere. Indeed, you will quickly notice all of the beautiful and toned people who are there to work out, enjoy the pool, or just work on their tans. As the name implies, Backyard does indeed have a large backyard with plenty of cushions and seats for lounging in the sun. This area is guaranteed to be packed on the weekends. There is also a small patio on the side, where the garden’s fresh lavender gives off a lovely scent.
The restaurant’s main building has vaulted ceilings with skylights, giving the space a very light and airy feel. There are plenty of warm wood and broad floor boards painted white, with both modern and retro furniture. The interior design is by Deniz Duru, who covered the walls with black and white retro photographs and installed an open bar/espresso bar at the back. This is the type of place that you would sooner expect to find in trendy Asmalımescit, although the crowd is very Bebek. Backyard is definitely cool, but not too cool, and still manages to be warm and inviting.
The menu focuses on natural and organic produce and many of the ingredients are sourced from co-owner Zeynep Moroğlu’s family farm in Çatalca. The menu ranges from Turkish classics to more international fare. The mains include lamb chops, steak, grilled salmon, several pastas, and other fairly standard dishes, as well as the more innovative “mini tastes”.
Meals start with a basket of Backyard’s own freshly baked bread, which included an olive loaf, mini cornbread muffins, and slightly sweet walnut bread, all delicious and served with a plate of olive oil and tomato paste for dipping. One of the menu highlights is the excellent wheat risotto with porcini mushrooms. Another noteworthy dish was the oven-baked mücver. Traditionally deep-fried and made with zucchinis, Backyard’s baked version also included carrots. Sprinkled with chopped lettuce and fresh mint, this was a light and refreshing take on the traditionally heavy dish. The daily specials usually include seasonal vegetables straight from the Çatalca farm and are definitely worth a try.
While the mains are certainly very satisfying, be sure to leave room for dessert, with the day’s goodies displayed in a glass case. Highlights include the red velvet cake topped with cream cheese frosting and decorated with blueberries, and Backyard’s freshly made sorbets. The grapefruit is very tasty, a bit tart, and perfectly refreshing on a hot summer day.
The quality of the food is matched by the music and atmosphere, which is cool and also a bit loungey, while the service is attentive and professional. There is also a nice selection of magazines and books to peruse, inviting you to spend the afternoon here. Backyard is the perfect place to spend a leisurely afternoon with some friends, eating good food al fresco and enjoying the fleeting warm days of summer.
Every Sunday an organic bazaar is held at Backyard between 4pm to 6pm. The bazaar is made up of a small stand where they sell what they grow at their garden as well as at co-owner Zeynep Moroğlu’s family farm in Çatalca. The products on sale include fresh spices, beans, a variety of cheese, jams, freshly-squeezed fruit juices, freshly-baked breads, and much more.
Fırın mücver (Baked vegetable patty)
Grilled steak sandwich
Devil's Food Cake
Red Velvet Cake
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The Creators of the Organic Backyard: Zeynep Moroğlu and Esra Muslu; by Talya Arditi