“We try to create a bridge between local/traditional and global/modern. If we don’t keep our traditions, we cannot have a sustainable future. One needs to respect the ingredients and techniques of the past, not changing but enhancing and elevating them, using the right produce, in the right season. I call my food ‘modern traditions’ which hopefully will remain in the future.”
Likorinos – smoked grey mullet, taramasalata and bottarga; braised artichoke, male onions, fava beans and peas; and mutabal with colourful vegetables, tahini, yoghurt, and walnuts.
New and local, hence the name Neolokal, is the motto of Chef Maksut Aşkar, who is inspired by his mother’s cooking and his native town Antioch, Hatay, in the south-east of Turkey. He meticulously deconstructs, recreates, redesigns, and beautifully presents his creations without losing the traditional flavours of his childhood. His plates are highly contemporary but the tastes are surprisingly authentic. He sources the best local and regional ingredients directly from producers and farmers.
Situated at Salt Galata Art & Research Center, Neolokal has a wonderful view of the historic peninsula over the Golden Horn; the building is also worth a visit, with a research library, workshop places, exhibition space, and a bookstore.
“Maksut Aşkar’s smart museum restaurant showcases local and seasonal ingredients in dishes that explore and redefine traditional Anatolian cuisine.”
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