As regular visitors to this blog are no doubt aware, Cin Bal Restaurant in Kayaköy is one of our favourite places to eat. It’s not simply going out for a meal. Cin Bal, with its kendin pişir, kendin ye (cook it yourself, eat it yourself) approach to dining is an eating experience. Previous posts on Cin Bal have shown photos of the cool, vine-shaded gardens, Ottoman seating areas, barbecues with sizzling meats and cold meze dishes and salads. It’s a memorable way to spend a summer’s evening with a group of friends…and a guaranteed way to impress them.
But what happens in the cold, wet winter months when all of a sudden, sitting outside to laze about on cushions while the meat cooks over hot coals doesn’t seem so appealing? That’s when Cin Bal moves indoors.
Aside from the beautifully juicy and tender lamb tandir and the tempting choice of meze dishes, the whole Cin Bal experience centres around the barbecue. The owner of Cin Bal is obviously fully aware of this and so, to keep his restaurant appealing year-round, barbecue chimneys have been built at regular intervals along the outer walls of the building. A couple of brick chimneys in the middle of the room by the central fireplace make for a cosy atmosphere in what could otherwise be a stark room.
If you do go to Cin Bal in winter, choose your seating wisely. Wander in and sit down aimlessly and you could find yourself cheffing for both yourself and your friends for the night. They who sit near the little arches in the wall are they who will take charge of the barbecue – unless of course none of you fancy cooking for yourself, in which case, one of the waiters will do it for you (but it’s just not the same if you do that).
Now, another reason we love to go to Cin Bal is because they hang all of their own meat. So this is just a little pointer here to vegetarians and those of you who eat meat but prefer not to think about where your meal has come from. Cin Bal are very proud of their produce and have their hanging meat on full display in a glass fridge for all to see.
This is part of what makes it Cin Bal for us – but if that’s just not your bag, you might want to choose a seat that doesn’t leave you catching sight of all that meaty loveliness every few minutes. We don’t need to tell you where it is. You can’t miss it!