Kitchenette Opens in the UK this November

Kitchenette in Putney
Kitchenette in Putney

After some delays, Turkish all-day restaurant cafe chain, Kitchenette, will open its first outpost in the UK on 18th November, 2013 (it was originally slated to open in September).

It’s no secret that I completely fell in love with Istanbul when I visited in 2009 and I have fond memories of spending some time in a couple of the Kitchenette outposts in the city, drinking coffee and eating cake, so its arrival in London has got me rather excited.

Kitchenette first launched in Turkey in 2005. The chain has expanded to boast 24 branches, not just in Turkey but also Baku (to read more of my tips on visiting, eating and drinking in Azerbaijan go here), Moscow and St Petersburg.

The London restaurant will open at 200-204 Putney Bridge SW15 2NA. Restaurant interiors have been designed by Michaelis Boyd. The 80-cover restaurant will feature lots of warm natural timbers and handmade tiles. In terms of food, you can expect good brasserie dishes, a few daily specials and excellent desserts in a really relaxed environment. It’s thought that the brand plans to expand quickly in London and potentially elsewhere in the UK.

Kitchenette is owned by TAG Restaurant Holdings which invested in Tom Aikens’ dining concept, Tom’s Kitchen. However, Square Meal reports (read more here) that the  Michelin-starred chef is likely to only play a very minor, executive chef role.

Kitchenette 200-204 Putney Bridge SW15 2NA

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M&S New Wines From Macedonia, Croatia & Turkey

I got rather excited two weeks ago when I popped into M&S on my way home from work and found they had started stocking Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia. It was priced at £8.99 (though this is an introductory price, it’s probably going to go up at some point) so I couldn’t resist trying it. The name translates as dark horse and its quite apt. I’ve been a fan of Macedonian wine for a while but it’s not very well known or stocked here so I’m sure a lot of people may find this wine a pleasant surprise. It’s a strong wine, great for meaty dishes, think steak or game, and cheese too. The wine positively bursts with berry flavour. If you like syrah and cabernet sauvignon, try this, you’ll love it. The next time I popped into M&S I really explored the wine aisle and I’m glad I did. Not only did I see a white Tikves, this time a Smederevka Rkaciteli, priced at just £6.99 (again, for now!). There’s also some great value wines from Croatia and Turkey too. Check them out in the gallery below. Happy shopping!

Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia priced at £8.99

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Tikves Vranec Merlot, a red wine from Macedonia priced at £8.99

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Hilton Opens First Doubletree in Istanbul

Istanbul being one of our favourite destinations we were pleased to hear that Hilton has opened its first Doubletree property in the city where East meets West.  The 171-room hotel is located on Ordu Street, in the city’s old town and is the nearest hotel to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.  Facilities include, four function rooms, the largest holding up to 200 guests, as well as a 24-hour business centre, gym, and spa facilities including a whirlpool, sauna, Turkish bath and steam bath.  The hotel also offers two restaurants: The Terrace serving “a la carte international cuisine with traditional Turkish favourites”, and the casual dining Old Town, where breakfast is also served.

Doubletree Istanbul
A property in the Moda district of the city is also set to join the Doubletree brand later this year, with reservations being taken from 1st May 2011.

For more information visit

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LFW Bora Aksu AW11

Turkish designer, Bora Aksu, always puts on a fabulous show at London Fashion Week.  This season the collection continued to wow with his signature structured tailoring.  Check out our catwalk report and favourite ensembles below…

Bora Aksu

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Intricate knitwear detailing provided drama to the ensembles

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Turkey Sails Ahead in 2011


TurkeyAs the third highest producer of luxury yachts in the world, boasting an unspoilt coastline of 8000km of spectacular beauty, and with 311 Blue Flag Beaches, Turkey ranks among the top sailing spots in the world.  Sailing enthusiasts can enjoy a tradition of regular international boat races and festivals throughout the year; while the more leisurely can discover the serene ‘Blue Cruise’ on a traditional wooden boat and a breathtaking coastline accessible only by boat.  The best bit?  A multitude of anchoring points offer fantastic settings for snorkelling, swimming and diving, as well as the opportunity to explore secret bays, local fishing villages and vibrant resort towns.

New marinas are opening all the time… the latest is planned for Dalaman on the Mediterranean coast, Turkey’s most popular spot for British visitors, with a capacity of 650 berths and sports (tennis, basketball, football), eating and shopping facilities.  This is an addition to Turkey’s wealth of world-class marinas, 29 of which are international standard, and 12 municipality operated marinas with a total capacity of 10,450 floating berths and 5,400 hard standing.  All are located between Istanbul in the north and Antalya in the south. In Istanbul both Atakoy Marina on the European side and Setur Kalamis-Fenerbahce (Amiral Fahri Koruturk) Marina on the Asian side offer 24-hour service.  Larger cruise-liners most often dock in the larger ports of Istanbul or Kusadasi, both of which are perfectly situated for access to some of Turkey’s most interesting historic sites.  Turkish Marina Management has an excellent reputation amongst international sailing crews for taking care of the yachts and their crew.

New marinas planned include: Marinturk Pendik Marina, Istanbul: 752-berth capacity and 100 hard standing; Marinturk Gocek & Poruklu Marinas, Gocek: 200-berth capacity and 150 hard standing; Alanya Marina on the east side of Antalya Gulf: 300-berth capacity and 150 hard standing; C&N Cesme Marina: 400-berths and 100 hard standing capacity; and Kas Marina: 450-berths and 100 hard standing capacity.

So what are you sailing enthusiasts waiting for?  Organise your sailing tour now!

For more information about sailing opportunities in Turkey visit

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Hot London to Istanbul Flight Offer From Pegasus

It is well noted that when I visited Istanbul I fell in love with the city, its culture, history, food and people.  To me there is no more magical city in the world.  While many may think the days of fabulous holiday offers are gone, you may be surprised by Pegasus Airlines’ latest deal. I think it is an offer you really should make the most of!

“Fly direct to Istanbul from London for just £49.99 including taxes and charges when you purchase your tickets between today, the 17th, and 24th of August for travel any time between now and the 30th of September 2010*. So hurry, book now on to see Istanbul for less!

*subject to availability”

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ISTANCOOL – Cultural Festival in Istanbul

This July Turkish Airlines in association with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism present Istancool – a cultural festival which is to take the city by storm. If you are travelling in the region, make sure you stop off in Istanbul between the 2nd and 4th of July to take in this vibrant city and its latest cultural offerings.

Istancool promises to be a mesmerising festival of art, design, fashion, literature, film, music and ideas. It will reflect an unique and innovative collaboration bringing together some of the most renowned British, Turkish and other international cultural icons. Istancool aims to stimulate and captivate audiences. The vision is to produce a spectacular festival that will feature a diverse, stimulating, high-quality and thought-provoking programme aimed at raising the profile of Istanbul as a forward-thinking world city. One of the festival’s goals is to complement Istanbul’s new position as the 2010 European Capital of Culture whilst creating a dynamic and independent brand that will contribute significantly to the city’s cultural calendar. The festival will further strengthen UK/Turkish cultural relations and aim to promote a positive image of Istanbul in the international media.

Istancool will enhance the reputation of Istanbul as a great cultural city and pay tribute to Turkey’s cultural heritage. It will present an ambitious and original programme which will aim to place Istanbul firmly at the centre of the international cultural scene in 2010. Istanbul continues to evolve and an event such as Istancool will serve to nurture the city’s cultural identity locally and on the world stage.

The programme will include exhibitions, performances, art installations, fashion showcase, talks, discussions, Q&As, film screenings and masterclasses. Guests will include leading actors, designers, musicians, directors, artists, authors and media figures such as Nobel Laureate Sir VS Naipaul, Philip Treacy, Zaha Hadid, Academy Award nominated director Lee Daniels, Taner Ceylan, Jefferson Hack, Gore Vidal, Terence Koh, Gareth Pugh, Lily Cole, Haluk Akakce, Academy Awardnominated musician Michael Nyman, Waris Ahluwalia, Elif Shafak, Academy Award nominated director Stephen Frears, Franca Sozzani, Alfred Dunhill creative director Kim Jones Serdar Gulgun, The Misshapes (Leigh Lezark and Geordon Nicol), Mike Figgis, Wallpaper editor in chief Tony Chambers, Daphne Guinness, Leyla Umar, Academy Award nominated screenwriter and author Hanif Kureishi among many others.

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Worldwide Food Centre in Aldershot

If you live in a big city you can easily take the availability of foreign produce for granted.  However, small specialist shops are popping up throughout the country, including in military town, Aldershot.  The Worldwide Food Centre is a relatively large shop located on Station Road.

Worldwide Food Centre

It stocks all manner of ingredients and goodies you could ever want from across the world but particularly boasts plenty of Polish, Turkish and Croatian food.

Here’s a snapshot of what you can find on the shelves

Worldwide Food Centre
Selection of honeys and preserves
Worldwide Food Centre, Aldershot
Selection of Polish Pierogi
Worldwide Food Centre
Selection of Polish Bread
Worldwide Food Centre
Croatian Vegeta
Worldwide Food Centre
Selection of Macedonian Ajver

The Worldwide Food Centre, Station Road, Aldershot, Hampshire UK

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Take a Walk in Istanbul

IstanbulI make no secret that the first time I visited Istanbul I was not anticipating to be particularly enamoured.  However, I was very wrong indeed and it is easily one of my favourite cities.  So when I came across this offer I couldn’t help but shout from the rooftops about it because I believe everyone can enjoy a little magic in this year’s European Capital of Culture.

The UK’s leading guided walking holidays’ operator, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, is offering an 8 day tour of Istanbul.  Sightseeing, mostly on foot, embraces both the Turkish and European quarters of the City where one can mingle in one of the greatest market places in the world, discover Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, the Hippodrome, The Valens Aqueduct, the Basilica Cistern and the Theodosian City Walls.  In the city itself, one walks alongside the Golden Horn, the river dividing the two European parts of Istanbul into the old city and Beyoglu.  Geographically, historically and culturally, this European City of Culture is like no other on the planet.

Highlights include, cultural treasures like, Aya Sofya, the Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque; boat trips across the Bosphorus to Asia and the Princes Islands.

Price from £779 includes flights, transfers, half-board accommodation and the services of a dedicated tour leader.
Tel: 01707 33 11 33

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LFW Bora Aksu AW10-11 Style Round-up

Bora Aksu was born in Turkey and moved to London 14 years ago.  After completing his BA and MA at Central Saint Martins in London, he won NEWGEN sponsorship on four occasions and as a result was able to found his own label.  Check out 8 of our favourite looks from this season’s show at London Fashion Week, and check out the finale video below…

Bora Aksu

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Look 1

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