When Ibrahim Kasif planned to open a Turkish eatery in Enmore, he didn’t anticipate drawn-out council approvals for the space. “We picked a doozy of a building,” laughs the chef best known for his fire-fuelled cooking as a senior chef with the Porteño team. “It’s full of character, it was a hairdresser from the 1950s and it caused uproar among the locals. They didn’t want us to destroy the façade. But we never wanted to damage it at all.”
It took more than a year but all approvals have been met and construction is underway for Stanbuli. An opening is planned for late July/early August.
“It’s based on an Istanbul equivalent of a taverna,” says Kasif, who has grown up visiting family in Turkey. Backed by the Porteño team, but fronted by Kasif, the name is how Istanbul locals refer to themselves. “A bit like when we call each other Sydneysiders or Melburnians.”
The food is meze-style eating according to Kasif, who took Porteño’s Elvis Abrahanowicz on a research trip to Turkey. “It’s all about generosity and accessibility and it can be as simple as eggplant and meat grilled over charcoal. You can eat it everyday.” And he says that abundance is key. “It’s going to be a very hard-working kitchen – I want there to be an endless array of food coming out. It’ll be vegetable, fish and offal-heavy, and meat over charcoal will be the crescendo of the meal.” But don’t expect any cliche’s. “There won’t be any dips or skewers,” he laughs.
Stanbuli is slated to open in late July/early August on Enmore Road in Enmore.