Dollop of Finely Crushed Bahraini Pearls

Dollop of Finely Crushed Bahraini Pearls


Ottoman Empire chef Ugur Alparslan spends more time in the library than he does in the kitchen.

“These are the lost recipes,” Alparslan says as the sun sets over the Golden Horn and the tables at his Tugra restaurant in the Ciragan Palace Kempinski hotel on Istanbul’s shore begin to fill with 21st-century merchants seeking the missing tastes and aromas of imperial Ottoman Constantinople.

For the 49-year-old Alparslan, his ancient menu is as real today as the many portraits of Sultan Mehmed II, who in 1453 conquered Byzantium. The House of Osman, or Ottoman Dynasty, shaped the city on the Bosphorus into the first headquarters for what would become the luxury-goods industry.

The wine nowadays is poured without a great dollop of the finely crushed natural Bahraini pearls once enjoyed by the empire’s commercial elite. Still, the heady 14.9 percent alcoholic content helps one imagine a time when affluent global businessmen gathered in Constantinople over clotted buffalo yogurt to discuss goat-hair futures.

Bosphoros River Bridge and Ortakoy Camii Mosque, Ortakoy District, Istanbul, Turkey


Bosphoros River Bridge and Ortakoy Camii Mosque, Ortakoy District, Istanbul, Turkey

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