AYLİN ÖNEY TAN - firstname.lastname@example.orgStanding still in front of the gigantic yellow vacuum in the wall, I was trying to walk away, but just could not. Instead, I went directly towards it, as if trying to walk through the yellow madness, to the other side of the wall. It is Yellow (1999), the infamous iconic work of Anish Kapoor, here in Istanbul, only a stone’s throw away from the shores of Bosphorus. The matt cavernous Yellow draws you in, while the brightness of the color shouts at your face, making you jolt back a few steps at an instant... It is deeply delicious; you cannot help but to have another glance at it even if you try to look away. It is like an addictive guilty pleasure, like endlessly and helplessly nibbling jumbo cashews or plump pistachios… It is an experience you can’t escape.
For those who could not make it to the Anish Kapoor exhibition in SSM, Sakıp Sabancı Museum, there is another chance; the exhibition is extended for another month, until Feb. 2nd. This means you still have a chance to taste the special menu designed for the exhibition. The exhibition covers a range of Anish Kapoor works, from matt pigments to shiny mirrors, focusing mainly on the artist’s abstract stone works, many of which were unveiled for the first time in Istanbul. The carved marble, alabaster and limestone pieces strangely bear a sense of agelessness, being very contemporary in form, yet having a strong traditional taste. So is the main dish of the menu “Sculptural Tastes” created by Müzedechanga, the restaurant located in the museum. In this art-food pairing event, the unseen fourth dimension of the exhibition comes to life, completing the experience. The fourth dimension is the taste, an addictive taste just like the magnetic Yellow.
The Changa kitchen team, led by owners Tarık Beyazıt and Savaş Ertunç, has created a menu inspired by the materials, textures, colors, and forms of Anish Kapoor’s work.
Every single detail is well thought out and reflects something either from the exhibition, or the artist himself. It is not only the food that follows the footsteps of the artist, but the dining room decorations as well, adorned with reflective table top materials that pay homage to Kapoor’s mirror works. Votives, vases and plates designed by Arik Levi and Sebastian Herkner and manufactured in the Czech Republic for Verreum - Gaia&Gino are to accompany the specially prepared menu, all bringing echoes of works like Sky Mirror (2001). Velvety pigments, dazzling colors that enhance the sense of depth, natural veins of marbles and onyx and reflecting materials such as mirrors and stainless steel all have directed the Changa team to construct dishes that portray the artist’s work. The visual vibrancy and copied forms are two main elements that shape the foods; but there is more to it, the dishes also resonate the tastes and flavors that are evoked in one’s mind when experiencing the exhibition.
The deep ruby colored pigment is reflected in powdered beet, sprinkled on a pool of olive oil, filled in the hollow of swirled smoked fresh creamy curd cheese. It is not just merely the color, but the powerful earthy flavor that mimics the strong sense of depth of the original piece. Dunking the donut shaped puffy turmeric roll in this deep well of taste is an experience quite like looking into the sucking pigment voids. The combination of the tang of fermented milk with the grassy fresh olive oil and earthy red beet root, all hazily covered by the matt smoke… I feel like I can eat this all night long, just as I can keep gazing at the enigmatic pigments.
Inescapable forms place a major role in the sculpturesque dishes, the playful two-layered lukewarm soup duo is served in a lab-like bulbous flask dotted with a stamp of silver leaf; the translucent domed spring roll skin encapsulates the slow-cooked pulled lamb. The Turkish slow baked lamb tandır and the Indian tandoori having historic connections, the dish is a perfect choice for Kapoor’s first exhibit in Turkey. The dough skin stuffed with tandır looks accurately like the Imminence (2000), pregnant to umami flavors.
Ending the whole experience with the sweet mango and passion fruit parfait with shortbread is so Anish Kapoor. The exotic fruity parfait is actually an Indian kulfi, hidden under a buttery British shortbread biscuit. The duality of the dessert reflects Kapoor as a person, representing both his British and Indian identities. The final touch comes with the coffee, served in the art cups designed by Anish Kapoor for Illy. Satisfaction at its finest...
Browsing through the exhibition, one keeps remembering Anish Kapoor’s quote:
“There’s something imminent in the work, but the circle is only completed by the viewer.” After relishing the Sculptural Tastes menu, one easily adds: the circle is only completed by the food; Savor Kapoor; taste the exhibition; see the menu!
“Sculptural Tastes” is offered on Wednesday and Friday evenings (by reservation only) when the museum visitors can enjoy the current exhibition until 8:00 pm.
Müzedechanga Open: Tues – Sun 10:30 – 01:00; 0212 323 0901; email@example.com
Recipe of the Week: The ultimate Ottoman classic, a bowl of saffron rice pudding zerde, will be greatly appropriate if you attempt to create your own Kapoor inspired menu. The taste is sublime, the fragrance eternal and the color very yellow. Soak ½ cup rice in water for two hours, wash and drain well. In another small bowl soak ½ cup of currants and ½ cup pine nuts in just enough rose water to cover. Boil the rice in 5 cups of water for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup of sugar and continue to boil for 5-10 minutes. In two little cups mix 2 tbsp corn or rice starch in ½ cup of water until smooth; soak 1 g of saffron in 2 tbsp rose water; mix both in the cooking rice, continue to stir for a minute or so. Take from the fire and pour into individual cups, preferably glass or crystal. While cooking, decorate with the currants, pine nuts and a few pomegranate seeds.
Bite of the week
Fork of the Week: The spice of the week must be the turmeric, the only
yellow that can compete with the yellow of Kapoor’s pigments. I use a
lot of it in making a savory müsli with yogurt for breakfast. Just mix
some rolled oatmeal with yogurt, add a spoonful of turmeric, add smoked
paprika spice from Ucuzcular, Spice Market no: 51, a handful of pumpkin
seeds with a sprinkling of bread mix with nigella seeds, again from
Ucuzcular. A crumble of tangy salty Erzincan tulum cheese from
Cankurtaran, the only remaining cheese shop in the Spice Market will
complete the taste.
Cork of the Week: Continue the holiday spirit with the good old Kavaklıdere Altın Köpük, the only sparkly which seems to be affordable in Turkey. Compared to the overly pricey mediocre import bubbly wines, it is way more satisfactory, even a nostalgic classic for us!