Turkish Food Focus: An Eskişehir Brunch Of Köfte & Piyaz

Us: Günaydın. Köfte var mı? (Good morning. Have you got köfte?)
The waiter turns away from us and shouts towards an unseen kitchen.

Waiter: Serkan, köfte hazır mı? (Serkan, is the köfte ready?)

Serkan: Hazır, hazır. (It’s ready.)
The waiter turns to us and informs us that the köfte is prepared and we can go and take a seat. And then he once again turns to the kitchen and shouts.

Waiter: Yabancı. (Foreigners are here.)

Odunpazarı, Eskişehir

Odunpazarı, Eskişehir

Let us set the scene, here. We’re in Odunpazarı in Eskişehir and we’ve not long since arrived in the city by bus from Fethiye. At around 6am, we’d eaten a börek, we’d found the lovely SRF Hotel, sat around for a bit in the lounge before check-in, got bored and so went for a walk with no real aim. We ended up in Odunpazarı, one of the places on our to-see list, and it was 11am. Feeling a bit peckish, we spotted Köfteci Ahmet, and decided brunch was in order. But first, as it was so early, we needed to check the köfte had been made.

Now, at this point you might be wondering why the waiter felt the need to shout ‘foreigner’ into the kitchen. It vaguely crossed our minds, but we were too tired to care so we just flopped into our chairs. The waiter comes over, smiling, setting out knives and forks, fixing serviettes, do we want a drink? He’s keen to please. We order an ayran each and a plate of köfte. Off he goes…and someone else brings the ayran to our table. He’s looking at us, too, smiling, keen to please. We turn round towards the kitchen and there’s the köfteci (he who makes the köfte), peering round the corner, looking at us, smiling. It seems everyone has come out to look at the yabancılar.

Piyaz at Köfteci Ahmet, Odunpazarı, Eskişehir

Piyaz at Köfteci Ahmet

Our waiter returns, so we ask if they have piyaz. He giggles that we know what piyaz is and brings some over. A good start. We hope the köfte is as good as the piyaz looks. This is the first morning of what ended up being a 17-day trip and our first experience (of what was to be many) where people were interested in us because we were foreign.

Of course, foreigners do visit Eskişehir but it’s not really on the travel agenda when people plan trips to Turkey. We were carrying with us a lot of novelty value on this particular morning and in these situations, Turks are never shy of openly displaying their interest in you.

Turkish Food - Köfte in Odunpazarı, Eskişehir

A Special Köfte Plate

Near Edirnekapı in Istanbul is Durak Rumeli Köfteci and that’s where we had our best ever köfte and piyaz meal. Any other köfte and piyaz always has to try and live up to that experience – and it’s a tough job for it to even come close, sometimes. But Köfteci Ahmet surprised us with his ‘special köfte plate.’ Warm pide bread smothered in a light tomato sauce and yoghurt and topped with six, juicy köfte. A couple of chillies on the side and we’re good to go.

Remember, it’s only 11am, we’ve been in the city for five hours and we’re already on our second meal.
And what a memorable second meal, it was, too. It didn’t beat Durak Rumeli Köfteci but it certainly matched it. And then we look at each other. We’ve let our guard down and not asked for prices. We go to the cashier to pay, wondering what number is going to be thrown at us. The cashier’s smiling, too. Everyone’s smiling.

“14 Lira,” says the cashier.
“Each?”
“No, 14 Lira for your meal.”

Hmmm, two plates of köfte, piyaz and ayran: 14 TL. Think we’re going to rather like Eskişehir. More tales to follow…View the location of Köfteci Ahmet centred on our map of Turkey.

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Comments

  1. This looks absolutely scrumptious! Two meals before 11 a.m. isn’t a bad way to start a day. 🙂

  2. A bargain! Bet you felt like royalty.

  3. @ Rambling Tart: It was just what we needed. Köfte and piyaz is good at any time of day. 😉

    @ Jack Scott: Yeah, not a bad bargain was it. A bit odd being looked at all the time. Don’t think we’d make good famous people. 🙂

  4. Kofte and piyaz -a divine combo, loved yours at Eskisehir – and what a value!! we must all have piyaz in mind as we’re having it with grilled fish today : )
    Ozlem

  5. Debbie Sue says:

    I just love you writing. I miss Turkey so much right now and you make me feel like I’m there with you. I’ve introduced so many of my friends to Turkey through your writing. Your photos and your easy flow as a story teller are wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing your journeys with all of us.

  6. Lovely pics, Julia! You seem to be doing a lot of travelling round Turkey these days! Love good köfte and piyaz … this looks delicious!

  7. @ Ozlem’s Turkish Table: Well, you just can’t beat a good piyaz can you? Perfect all year round salad. 🙂

    @ Debbie Sue: Wow, and thank you for the lovely comment. That means a lot. We love Turkey – as you’ve probably worked out 😉 – and love to write about it, too. Always great to know people enjoy reading about it.

  8. @ Claudia: All our travelling around Turkey was done in May as one trip. It was great – as was this köfte and piyaz. 🙂

  9. If you think that Durak Rumeli Köftecisi is the best, you have way to go. If you come again to Istanbul, tell me and we can make a “Kofte Tour”. Sultanahmet Halk, Filibe, Namlı, Beşiktaş Halk, Kadıköy Ekspres and much more to try!

    By the way. I am Eskişehirli also, and loved your experiences about my hometown!

  10. @ tunchay: We’ve had lots of amazing köfte experiences over the years – we loved this one for the flavours and because we were cold, wet and hungry. 🙂 We’ve never been to any of the places you mentioned so we might just take you up on your offer of a köfte tour! 😉

    Glad you like our experiences of Eskişehir. We loved it and will definitely go back again because we weren’t there for long enough and missed out on a lot. 🙂

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