Visitors to Istanbul with a penchant for pomp and pageantry have the opportunity to visit two distinctive Four Seasons properties with a heart for the historical: a majestical palace on the Bosphorus and repurposed prison in Sultanahmet. Both hotels offer the luxurious Four Seasons experience we have come to know and love: inspirational design lines, stunning views, warm smiles, attentive service and top notch culinary offerings.
My first feast in Istanbul would be at the Four Seasons Bosphorus Aqua Restaurant which offers a picturesque al-fresco dining experience on a terrace overlooking the river. A chic retreat on Istanbul’s glorious seafront, this converted 19th-century Ottoman palace is surrounded by shimmering indigo water.
Chef Sebastiano Spriveri at Aqua serves up fantastic contemporary Italian dishes which pair well with the bartenders whimsical selection of raki fusion cocktails and sommeliers suggested home-grown Turkish wines. My dinner at Aqua was one of the most romantic solo-dining experience I’ve had to date. I’ll never forget the warm breeze which whispered through my hair as tourist paparazzi flashed the palace aboard one of the cities iconic night cruises. A pianists fingers pranced across ivory keys, helping to create an elegant and relaxing atmosphere that was nothing short of unforgettable.
It was a Friday night and the cities well coifed lounged on the terrace clutching their cocktails and relishing in the weekend ahead. The hotel’s beaming bartender started me off with a trilogy of his favourite cocktail creations: Bebek’s spicy hot pepper paired with strawberry and vodka, Sonbahar’s local Turkish raki spirit paired with grape and lemon and Lalezar’s fizzing hibiscus, citrus and raki-vodka fusion.
Chef Sebastiano Spriveri’s menu offers memorable moments. His Buffalo Mozzarella Trio is an ingenious bit of play with Italy’s favourite fromage: crispy deep fried in carrozza, stuffed with tomato and green olives and chilled as a smoked soup. As a gent with a penchant to sweeten the savoury I was pleased by a fresh fig ragout, sweet red onion, balsamic and goat milk foam presented in Capelli d’angelo al Doppio Uovo. A carbonara of beef bacon, summer black truffle and wee roasted red prawns appeared on its plate as edible art. My essential sweet finish duo included a reinterpretation of the noble Tiramisu and a pucker-inducing Pistachio Raspberry Tart.
stoli vodka, red hot pepper vodka, strawberry puree, lime juice
stoli vodka, black grape, red grape raki, lemon juice
stoli vodka, hibiscus, lemon juice, red grape raki, sparkling water
Buffalo Mozzarella Trio
crispy in carrozza, stuffed with tomato and green olives, chilled smoked soup
beetroot carpaccio, gorgonzola, walnuts, honey mustard dressing
Maccheroni Trafilati al Bronzo
carbonara, beef bacon, summer black truffle, roasted red prawns
Capelli d”angelo al Doppio Uovo
fresh fig ragout, red onion, balsamic, goat milk foam
Come Un Tiramisu
chocolate streusel dough, lady finger, coffee cremeux
Pistachio Raspberry Tart
lemon linzer dough, pistachio sponge, citrus chiboust, raspberry white peach sorbet