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The kebap you don't expect

Turkey, August 2022

There is something surreal about Cappadocia: the houses in Goreme are carved into the rock, there are open-air museums with fairy chimneys, rock camels and mushrooms.

The canyons are immense, and when you get there you feel so small, in a parallel world, where nature really leaves you speechless.

We are in Turkey, in central Anatolia. That evening we wandered the streets of Goreme looking for a place to have dinner, we happened upon a local restaurant we had been recommended. Right from the start you could tell it was special: you had to go down stairs to get in, namely because most of the places are carved into the rock. You go through the kitchen, where the owner - very kind - and his mother are busy behind the stove delighting guests.

We were among the first and he seated us at low tables on colorful pillows and rugs. It was like being in a painting. The restaurant doesn't have a lot of seats or even a huge choice of dishes (strictly from the local tradition), precisely because it is all home cooking and km0, in fact the vegetables are from their garden.

The owner told us that he had moved to Goreme a few years ago before the tourist boom to give birth to his dream of opening the restaurant. Inspired by the menu, we decided to have a stew with spicy meat, peppers and rice, and testi kebap (pottery kebap)-which is a must try.

What is it? Basically, it is a kebap of meat of your choice of lamb, beef, or chicken barbecued and then stewed with tomatoes, vegetables, and spices in a small ceramic pot (yes! You can find also the vegetarian version). What makes it special is the cooking at 300 degrees in these earthenware bowls, creating the perfect combo of colors, flavors and local craftsmanship. The restaurant owner brought the testi kepap along with a gavel to smash the pottery along an already marked line. Mind-blowing scents and colors were released, after which he poured it onto the plate to be enjoyed in the company of Arabic bread: he cooks it according to his family's tradition, who carefully retrieves all the shards to recast them and waste nothing. In his gaze we saw an immense gratitude and kindness, which distinguishes the people of this country. Unforgettable.

When you stop by this restaurant and the magical Cappadocia tag @seimaistato!

Low tables, cushions and colourful carpets

Low tables, cushions and colourful carpets


The kitchen

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