I haven’t been baking much lately. A terrible flu season just got started and I have had my share. As soon as I started feeling better, I kept a promise I made earlier and took two friends to Çiya for their first experience. After Çiya, we toured around the Kadiköy food market and stopped by Baylan Patisserie for their famous Kup Griye.
Kadiköy, as well as Çiya and Baylan, is located on the Asian side of İstanbul. Me and my friends live on the European side (and if you ever plan to visit İstanbul, you will most probably stay on that side as well). In order to get to the other side of the city, you have two options for transportation. You can either take a cab/bus/car and drive all the way to Kadiköy and struggle for parking, OR you can hop on a ship and travel with the seagulls and watch the sunset on your way back.
On a beautiful day like last Saturday, one would spend at least 45 minutes in traffic to get to the Asian side and another 15-20 minutes to find parking. However, by ship, it only takes 15 minutes. Plus, the scenery is priceless.
We live close to the Bosphorus Bridge so we took the one that departs from Beşiktaş. There are many other docks located, the most popular one being the Karaköy dock, which is walking distance from touristic places like Sultanahmet, Grand Bazaar, Spice market, etc.
I’ve mentioned Çiya a million times, so I’ll introduce another classic of İstanbul: Baylan Patisserrie.
Philip Lenas, a Greek from Epirus, founded the Baylan patisseries when he was just 15 after coming to Turkey from Albania. After settling in Istanbul, he worked for several years in the first Turkish chocolate shop, the French-operated Mulatiye. He then realized his dream by opening his first patisserie on Deva Pent Road in 1923 and named it “Loryan”, the pronunciation of the word L’Orient in French. In 1934, a law was passed that mandated the conversion of foreign names into Turkish. Baylan was thus born. The name was selected upon the recommendation of an art history professor, who was one of the frequent customers of the patisserie. Baylan means “excellence, perfection” in Chatagai Turkish.
Baylan gained fame through its high-quality array of around 200 types of pastries and sweets. It also began to be mentioned together with Markiz, Lebon and Moskova, the famous patisseries of the time. The luxury hotels catering to statesmen and foreign elite, such as Pera Palas and Park Hotel Tokatliyan, offered Baylan sweets. Receptions held at the Dolmabahçe Palace for Atatürk and his guests were catered by Baylan. Some people even adopted “Baylan” as their surname and named their children after the patisserie.
The only branch standing today, Baylan Kadiköy, was established in 1961 by Michael Lenas, the youngest son of Philip Lenas. The current owner of Baylan, Harry Lenas, is the elder son of Philip Lenas. After graduating from high school, he learned the profession in the Beyoğlu Baylan. He subsequently received training in Zuckerbaecker Shule, a pastry school in Vienna, and practiced his craft in various patisseries throughout Vienna. He was trained as a resident pupil in Richmont Fachsule in Luzern, Switzerland, specializing in pastry and chocolate praline. He then implemented his vast education in the famous Mövenpick Restaurant.
One of his creations, the “Kup Griye” became instantly famous. It is made with vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce, toasted almonds, pistachios, crÃ¨me chantilly and served with cat’s tounge biscuits. Among other tastes that were first introduced by Baylan were Italian espresso, Italian ice cream, milk shakes, Scandinavian canapes and toasts, cappuccino, and the first liquor, praline, lemon and krokan chocolates.
The three established Baylan shops were in quite different locations with their own distinct characters. The Karaköy Baylan was located on a busy junction where people shopped for pastries and chocolates on their way to the wharf. The Kadiköy Baylan, with its beautiful ivy-covered garden, was a romantic gathering spot for people of all ages. The Beyoğlu Baylan is now remembered as the meeting place where famous literary men gathered to chat and discuss the issues of the time. Its hey-day was between 1950 and 1960. Due to slowly deteriorating conditions of the neighborhood, the Beyoğlu Baylan closed in 1967. In 1992, the Karaköy Baylan also had to shut its doors due to building amendments.
Baylan is credited with having an important influence on Turkish culture through being the regular meeting place of many famous writers, poets, painters, and actors. The topics and ideas discussed and debated at Baylan found their way into the literature, philosophy and art of the time.
The only Baylan store still operating today is the Kadiköy Baylan. Harry Lenas manages the store and continues to participate in several international pastry conferences and exhibitions. He is also a founding member of the food and beverages club named “Chaine des Rotisseurs”. His new creations along with the established favorites continue to draw crowds into the beautiful and relaxing environment of the Kadiköy Baylan’s ivy-covered garden.
The inside of the patisserie hasn’t changed since my first visit some 15 years ago. I am totally in love with the entrance door as well as the retro lighting fixtures.
Here are some other snapshots from our tour:
Is there a more delicious shade of green? This is pure pistachio paste.
This one is called Tulumba – a traditional Turkish dessert also sold by street vendors at touristic locations. As you can tell from the picture, the dough is deep fried and then soaked in sugar syrup. And yes, it is 1000 calories per serving.
There are some very nice (and extremely packed) antique shops located at the back streets of Kadiköy. Much more expensive than what you might find in other countries’ flea markets, but still worth looking.
The bucket below was one of the most interesting finds. It writes “The legend is back” on it. There was a very strong odor coming from it, so we didn’t dare to open it. Apparently, there is Tulum cheese inside, a Turkish cheese made from goat’s milk encased in the animal’s skin. Next to it is Kadayıf, another traditional Turkish dessert, which is basically a shredded deep fried phyllo, stuffed with nuts and spices.
So there you go. Now you have not one but two reasons to visit the Asian side of the Bosphorus on your next visit.
Muvakkithane Caddesi No:19 Kadıköy / İstanbul
+ (90) 216 346 63 50 – 336 28 81 – 346 89 19
The pistachio paste looks divine! And the lokma- I just LOVE those! Can eat sooo many of them…even though they unfortunately have to be millions of calories as you say! Beautiful photos too! 🙂
Guzel bir yazi diger yazilarinizinda oldugu gibi. Yanliz tulumba tatlisina lokma demissiniz. Lokma sekil verilmemis ve yuvarlak kure seklinde olanlarin ismi 🙂 Kolay gelsin.
Thank you MariannaF!
Çağatay – Çok teşekkürler notun için.
we also wander around the same places, but you certainly have a superlative perspective to even very ordinary stuff. loved the photos!
I really enjoy reading your blog and hearing the details about life halfway around the world. Your images are so crisp and sharp. full of detail. I feel like I am there looking at everything you capture on film. One of these days, I will definitely be exploring Istanbul and all its glory.
another amanda =P
every time i get your blog i think, man i really should go to turkey…
Istanbul looks even more amazing than I imagined.
I’ve been there! But obviously I missed a lot (or a lot has changed in the last 20 years…which is more like it.) I obviously need to get back there.
And I’ll skip the animal heads and stay with the kup griye, if you don’t mind.
What a great post! Your pictures are amazing and Istanbul looks wonderful!
Ayşe – Thank you! Which one is your favorite?
Amanda – Glad you liked the photos!
Another Amanda – What are you waiting for?
Vladimir – Great to hear that!
David – So you visited Baylan when you were a kid? That’s such a long time ago! You should come to Turkey again. And you’re right – a lot has changed.
everytime i read your blog i think, man when will he invite us all to turkey for a dinner to blog about!
Cenk, you are gonna kill me! First boza, now “kup griye” and tulumba to top it! I will have to make you come up for the expenses of my next trip to Istanbul.
As a kid, I was very sick for a long time, and whenever my poor mom didn’t know how she should cope with yet another visit to the doctor’s, she would take me to the Kadiköy Baylan (or to the Karaköy one if a hospital was involved) and we would eat a kup griye. The portion size was always “too little”, making you want to order one more; or, not being able to do so, return to Baylan as soon as possible. I have the taste in my mouth now.
Your photography is becoming quite remarkable. Those pistachio paste desserts sound like guilty heaven!
Your photos are gorgeous Cenk! And make me want to visit Turkey even more than I already do 🙂
That one of the pistachio paste is brilliant!
Cenk, you have a great sense of humor, an even bigger sense of…taste and colors,details,stories… I am just so happy I found your blog (through Tastespotting). I have been in Istanbul last october and I felt like I had always been there. But it was so frustrating not to have enough time and not speaking the language! But I will definitely come back soon. I’m Italian (that explains my love for food and “belle cose”) I live in Paris now and lived in Athens before. Waiting to come back to The Town, I’ll visit your blog regularly. Congratulations.
Thanks for taking us on the trip with you.
daniezsa – Actually that’s an idea that had crossed my mind many many times. After New York Times chose İstanbul as the foodie destination for 2008, I was planning to propose some of the popular restaurants to arrange a dinner with bloggers from all around the world. After I observed how little attention it garnered from these restaurant owners, I didn’t even try.. It is definitely their loss..
Hande – Sorry about that… I always feel the portion is too small, too!
Hillary – That is such a nice compliment! Thank you.
Joey – Thank you!
Chiara – Thank you for the lovely words. Glad to hear you felt like home here.
Cynthia – My pleasure..
White On Rice Couple
The photography is stunning! Makes us want to get on a plane and be with you! You opening picture looks like a post card!
Please, what is the somewhat star-shaped red desert in the photo? I will drop dead on the spot with longing if it has to do with pomegranates. Although I grew up in the northeast US, I have loved them since I rented a very tiny house on a island in Greece in the early 1980’s (hope you all get along better these days) and there was a pomegranate tree growing up through the terrace. I often wish I had been raised in culture/country where they were as commonly used as apples.
That same adventure led me to Istanbul where I met an old boyfriend, watched a goat being chased down the street outside the window of my hotel, and bought very affordable fresh flowers every day. Now, my 17 year old daughter wants to visit Turkey and I will return some day soon with her.
Jane – I wish I had asked the store owner more about that sweet. Many people have asked about it and I don’t have an exact answer – yet. It is called crimson candy. I am almost sure that it is made with quince rather than pomegranate. I will gather more information on my next trip. Hope you and your daughter have a good time in Turkey on your next trip. Please let me know if you need any recommendations for restaurants!
i just went yesterday! what a beautiful ferry ride, and the market was soo much fun. the food at ciya was out of this world. i had an amazing meat fruit dish that i could eat every day. i LOVE istanbul!
Dear Don Fernando: Just back from a week in Istanbul and I want to thank you, first, for whetting my appetite before th trip with your inspiring blog and photos, and second, for helping me satisfy it while I was there. Turkey’s food culture is as rich as its history. Ciya was a bit of a challenge: no English menu. But pointing and goodwill worked wonders. And the Kadikoy district itself was a delight. Based in Zurich, I’ve been visiting cities throughout Europe for years, but had never made to Istanbul before. Now, it’s now moved far up the list.
i was going to Istanbul for 5 days and i searched for informations on the net and found out your blog. i read it and liked how you explain and present the thing. so i collected few informations that were useful for me and went to Istanbul. i just loved the city, so beautiful. so thank you for your info and your blog. i have posted alot of pictures on my blog, i would appreciate your comments and feedback. maria
next time when you guys visit Baylan, just for once, skip the Kup Griye and dive in to the ‘caramel chocolate cake’…oh meee goodd…a piece of heaven 🙂
Cem, selam! O kızıl renkli parçalarla kızılcık şerbeti yapılmıyor muydu?? Ben mi yanlış hatırlıyorum acaba. ..
Bahar – Doğru.