Turkish chefs present culinary inheritance


Uras (left) and Karabatak presenting some of the Turkish dishes that are available at Curate in Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur.

GROWING up in Bolu, a city in north Turkiye, Akin Karabatak is no stranger to the kitchen as his grandfather and father were chefs too.

He regularly helped out at his family’s restaurant where he developed a passion for cooking and later picked up culinary skills.

Determined to follow in the footsteps of the men in his family, he eventually started working as a chef in Istanbul.

He was later employed at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul, after several years of working in different kitchens in Turkiye and abroad.

Karabatak is currently at Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, alongside his colleague chef Atacan Uras for the Turkish Cuisine Week promotion.

He recalled feeling elated upon learning that he was to fly to Malaysia for the event.

“I have always wanted to come to South-East Asia and experience the culinary traditions here,” he told StarMetro.

Uras echoed the same excitement.

“There is a Malaysian restaurant in Istanbul that I have been to. Since then, I have been curious about Malaysia and its cuisines,” said Uras.

Karabatak and Uras have curated a delightful selection of Turkish dishes, starting with the Zeytinyagh Ayvah Kereviz (celeriac quince cooked in olive oil).

This dish offers a unique combination of flavours, with the earthy celeriac to the tart and sweet quince, perfectly balanced by the rich olive oil.

The vegetables absorb the oil and spices, making this a great appetiser.

Kisir (bulgur wheat with pomegranate molasses) is a salad that combines the nuttiness of bulgur with the tangy sweetness of pomegranate.

Kisir has the nuttiness of bulgur with tangy pomegranate sweetness.Kisir has the nuttiness of bulgur with tangy pomegranate sweetness.

The addition of fresh herbs like parsley and mint adds a burst of freshness, making it a perfect dish for warm weather.

The Kuzu Tandir (lamb shoulder with seasonal vegetables) features fall-off-the-bone tender lamb infused with earthy vegetables, lending deep and smoky flavours to the dish.

Kuzu Tandir features fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shoulder.Kuzu Tandir features fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shoulder.

The Kuru Fasulye (dry bean casserole) – a staple in Turkish households, is cooked to perfection in rich tomato sauce.

Another must-try is Izmir Kofte (beef meatballs with tomato, green pepper, and garlic) that is served with assorted sauces.

Izmir Kofte is a hearty meatball dish.Izmir Kofte is a hearty meatball dish.

Seafood connoisseurs will enjoy Karides Guvec (shrimp casserole with aged cheese) that combines tender shrimp with creamy and tangy cheese sauce.

The cheese adds a rich depth of flavour that complements the sweetness of the shrimp.

Not to be missed is Ic Pilav (traditional Turkish rice with pine nuts and raisins).

It is not only fragrant but also a slightly sweet rice treat.

The rice is fluffy and beautifully cooked, with the nuts adding a pleasant crunch and texture, while the raisins lend a burst of sweetness.

This pilaf is a perfect accompaniment to meat dishes or can be enjoyed on its own.

Those who want a burst of spices can opt for Balli Mahmudiye (chicken stew with dried apricot and almond).

This succulent chicken stew combines savoury chicken with the sweetness of dried apricots and crunchiness from the nuts.

Other dishes include Tarhana Corbasi (fermented yogurt soup with spiced butter mint) and Zeytinyagh Taze Fasulye (fresh beans cooked in olive oil).

Notable desserts include the Sekerpare (tender biscuits soaked in sugar syrup).

These are delicate and crumbly biscuits that melt in your mouth.

Irmik Helvasi has nuts that add a crunchy contrast.Irmik Helvasi has nuts that add a crunchy contrast.

The Irmik Helvasi (semolina halva with milk syrup and nuts) has a smooth but slightly grainy texture, with the nuts for a crunchy contrast.

Another must-try is the Sutlac (oven-baked rice pudding), a creamy and luscious dessert that is baked to perfection showcasing a lovely caramelised layer.

It is mildly sweet, with a rich and velvety texture that makes it incredibly comforting.

This dining experience is available until May 26.

The lunch experience is priced at RM170 (Friday and Saturday) and RM238 (Sunday). Dinner is priced at RM228.

Sutlac is a creamy and luscious rice pudding.Sutlac is a creamy and luscious rice pudding.

CURATE, Level 6B, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2382 8888). Business hours: Noon to 3pm (weekdays), 12.30pm to 3.30pm (Saturday and Sunday) and 6pm to 10pm.

This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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