Bodrum & The White Mansion

July 18th, 2007  | Category: Friends, Turkish Cuisine

Birsen and Peach Tart

I confess. I used to hate Bodrum. Yes, I hated the city synonymous with perfect summer weather and magnificent coves. It was before The White Mansion with the cheerful cook existed.

My first visit to Bodrum was right after I graduated from high school. To reward us for our year-long hard work for the university entrance exam, our school crammed us in a bus and shipped us to its summer camp in Bodrum. After a 15-hour ride, we were welcomed by the vicious superintendent, the beige color of the sea and rooms that smelled damp. The camp’s cove was wide open to winds, which made the sand rise all the time and turned the beautiful blue color to that hideous beige. We had no choice but to escape every night and spend countless hours of booze and dance, until the deafening music killed all our senses. A week later, I returned home and never went back.

Up until a year ago… My friends opened up the summer version of The Mansion in Bodrum, which we call The White Mansion. It is overlooking a magnificent cove and employs the most cheerful cook I have ever seen: Birsen (photographed above).

Birsen is a sophomore in college and she is studying nutrition. Not only she cooks delicious and light dishes, but lights up the room with her adorable smile. Here are some of the dishes she prepared for us during my stay:

Baked eggplant, börek and string beans

Clockwise from left top corner: My favorite dish in the world, Karnıyarık. It is fried eggplants stuffed with minced meat and topped with a tomato wedge and green pepper. Served with condensed yogurt. Next to it: String beans in olive oil. Very simple and light. Then börek with minced meat, potatoes and carrots. And yet another börek next to it, this time stuffed with cheese and shaped like cigars.

Ice cream, savory pastries, ice bowl and fried red mullets

On top, you will see fried red mullets, gum mastic ice cream decorated with the official flower of Bodrum, Bougainvillea and savory pastries.

Tea and savory pastries

Bodrum white mansion

Perfect dessert after a seafood dinner: Baklava!


Lal and Sinan

We also visited my favorite store in Bodrum. Rifat Ozbek, who is a world-renowned Turkish fashion designer, opened up a shop in Bodrum called Yastik Istanbul a year ago. He sells pillows made of fabrics he has collected over the years from his travels around the world. Highly recommended if you ever plan to visit Bodrum. Photographed above are Lal and Sinan having fun on one of the over-sized pillows.


I also came across a couple of very cute dogs while shopping. The stray dog on the left was looking at the people having lunch with tearful eyes, begging for döner. The cream-colored Chow Chow was quite reserved and tense, but I managed to take a picture.

Chow chow and stray

White Mansion

Never miss a recipe. Subscribe via email.


  1. 1 - joey on July 20th, 2007

    Every single photo is gorgeous! I have long been wanting to go to Turkey. It was part of a trip planned long ago but did not push through…so I still dream of going! These picture are inspiring…and it’s just one place! I’ve got to check your archives… 🙂

  2. 2 - B5 on July 22nd, 2007

    Wonderful post!I have just returned from Bodrum+Datca… Wish I knew the Özbek Shop& The White Mansion before. Next Time!
    ps:Great photos!

  3. 3 - eni on July 25th, 2007

    of ya harika gene..çay ne kadar da güzel gözüküyor …

  4. 4 - Ela on August 28th, 2007

    Ne kadar güzel resimler çekmişsin!!!hayatımda kek yapmadım ama bu sene resimlerden sonra yarın lemon poppy seed’ i deneyeceğim!!!MP ye sevgiler , ELA

  5. 5 - Cenk on August 29th, 2007

    Merhaba Ela – Çok teşekkürler. Denedikten sonra da yorumlarını bekliyorum! Sevgiler

  6. 6 - Missing Bodrum on January 4th, 2008

    ahh, Bodrum…we sure miss the lazy days of never ending sun, warm clear blue waters, fabulous farmer’s markets and friendly people. We hope to get back to Turkey sometime this year.

    BTW, great website, recipes and fabulous photos.

    S & K from somewhere in New England, USA

  7. 7 - Leesa on September 23rd, 2008

    My goodness!! I’m drooling over your photos that are NOT food photos! You are very talented! I think if I traveled to Turkey, I would have to leave my vegetarianism here in France… The dishes look to wonderful to say no to… Especially the plates with phyllo and dough… My all-time FAV– BAKLAVA!!! Is it TRUE that it originated in Turkey? My Turkish friends said so, but my Arabic friends swear it’s from Middle Eastern cuisine.. Things are so closely related… it’s hard to know for sure..

  8. 8 - Cenk on September 23rd, 2008

    Leesa – Thanks! As far as I know, baklava originated in Turkey. But I am sure you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask 🙂

  9. 9 - Ainnate on October 7th, 2008


    I was delighted to find your post on bodrum and view yr lovely photos.
    I am about to visit Bodrum next week and was looking for recomm on places to eat. Dishes look lovely however i couldnt figure out if the described WHITE MENSION is a resturant in Bodrum and if so, where is it located.
    I`d be most thankful if u could clear that out for me.

    Thank u
    Ainnatte Inbal

  10. 10 - Cenk on October 8th, 2008

    Ainnate – It is not a restaurant, just my friend’s house 🙂 sorry

Leave a Comment