If you’re someone who knows the Fethiye restaurant scene pretty well, then restaurateurs Nichola and Doğan probably need no introduction. If you’re not familiar with the restaurant scene in our little corner of Turkey, we often write reviews of local bars and eateries. And this article is no exception. This is our review of Nichola and Doğan’s latest venture, Motif Restaurant, along Çalış Beach…
Motif Restaurant, Çalış Beach
Opened in the spring of 2019 by Nichola and Doğan, Motif Restaurant was on the immediate radar of local diners. If you’ve run a successful restaurant in the past and then you announce a return with the upcoming opening of Motif Restaurant, you’ve already got a bunch of eager, hungry customers on your hands!
We class ourselves as two of those eager, hungry customers. As with any new restaurant opening, however, we resisted for a short while and gave the team a bit of ‘settling in’ time before we went to sample some of the dishes from the tempting menu.
Çalış Beach is famous for its welcome, cooling breezes in the summer months. On the day we were at Motif Restaurant, it was springtime, it was sunny but the ‘welcome cooling breeze’ blowing straight off the sea was nothing but a cold wind.
We had the option to sit inside but photos on the Motif Restaurant Facebook page had shown us that there was a sheltered, decked garden area to the rear. No cold winds down here! Just pleasant sunshine and a choice of contemporary and traditional seating. The köşk looked tempting but we kept life simple and opted for a dining table.
Time to peruse the menu and prepare the tastebuds for some flavours of Turkey!
Because that’s what people are so happy about with the arrival of Motif Restaurant in this area. It’s a restaurant specialising in Turkish cuisine. And a good number of the dishes on offer are ones you won’t see elsewhere in restaurants along the Çalış Beach promenade.
Motif Restaurant’s tagline is ‘Anadolu Lezzetleri – Traditional Tastes of Turkey’ and the menu has a mix of regional dishes, dishes from the Ottoman kitchen and a good sprinkling of familiar Turkish favourites, too.
We decided to start our meal with some meze choices. Falafel, Gavurdağı Salatası and an aubergine salad. Gavurdağı Salatası – a salad dish from the Gaziantep area of Turkey – is a favourite of mine and this one didn’t disappoint. Especially with some of that lovely bread torn apart and dipped into the juices!
The Big Event
And then the time came for our main meals to arrive. Three diners, three different meals. Well, no point in all ordering the same thing is there? Especially when there is so much to choose from on the menu.
For me, flavours from the Hatay region in Turkey’s southeast.
Şato piliç. A large pate of minced chicken stuffed with cheese and pistachio nuts. Chargrilled pepper, tomato and onion. A fresh onion and parsley salad tossed in zesty sumac, tomato bulgur pilaf and a dip of yoghurt and aubergine. Oh, and let’s not forget all those leaves of lavaş bread covered in a light red pepper paste.
Flavours From The Ottoman Kitchen
There was a short discussion regarding this choice of lamb mutancana. Both Barry and I were keen to try it. As I was already torn between this and my eventual choice, I was happy, on this occasion, to sample some of Barry’s when it arrived. Purely for purposes of this article, of course. How can I tell you what food tastes like if I don’t taste it – and photograph it?
We’ve been told in the past that the chef at Motif Restaurant is rather particular when it comes to preparing his lamb meat before it’s cooked. Whatever his methods are, what is served to your table is chunks of the most juicy tender lamb. And for this particular Ottoman dish, flavours of the Middle East come into play – bite-sized pieces of succulent lamb are served in a stew with dried fruits, honey and almonds.
If meat dishes with fruit are your thing, this lamb mutancana is a must-try when you go to Motif Restaurant.
Flavours From The Sea
Barry’s mum was with us and she opted for some flavours of the sea with a fish casserole.
Served with a side salad and potato wedges, the Mediterranean fish casserole is packed with juicy chunks of ‘akya.’ Amberjack fish or leer fish is a steak-like fish when cooked so it’s perfect for dishes like this and şiş kebabs (also on the menu).
Motif Restaurant & Eyna Hotel
And Motif Restaurant isn’t just a restaurant. As with those other creators of quality kebabs and Turkish dishes in the Çalış area, Babzen Kebab, there are also rooms available at Motif Restaurant.
Of course we wanted to have a mooch around one of the rooms. This is the first floor room with balcony offering vistas of the Mediterranean and the beach below, through the trees. Not a bad place to sit with your morning brew!
Back To Motif Restaurant
So, if you need a place to lay your head while staying in Çalış, there’s an option for you. But let’s get back to the restaurant side of proceedings…
Once you’ve had your fill of all that lovely food, there’s a couple of places where you can relax at Motif Restaurant. As they’re gaining as much of a reputation for their inventive infused gins as they are for their food, you might want to sit back and enjoy a beverage or two whilst you’re there.
We completely forgot about the gin offerings when we were there so we now have a perfect excuse to go back to Motif Restaurant soon and sample more of the menu…and the gin!
The Return To Motif Restaurant
Well, of course, we’re not just going to visit Motif Restaurant on the one occasion and then forget all about it, are we? There was the small matter of the infused gin for a start.
These days, as you would expect, Motif Restaurant is much more settled into its location along Çalış Beach. We’ve enjoyed the odd gin there and also more samplings from the menu.
We did mention that the chef is very particular about his lamb prep. This is evident in the lamb şiş which is just so juicy and tender – none of those uncomfortable chewy or fatty bits that tend to make themselves present in grilled lamb.
Barry’s a huge fan of the güveçte pirzola (lamb chops in a tomato-based stew, served in a clay pot). We did a swap – a chunk of lamb şiş for a slice from the lamb chop. Both of these dishes are a lamb-lover’s heaven!
And a meal treat without a little meze starter just isn’t complete, is it? If you’re a fan of hummus, make sure to try the hot hummus topped with pastırma. Perfect for dipping your warm bread into! And an oruk to share. Oruk is içli köfte but a flattened pate version. A real taste of southeast Turkey.
Time For Refreshments
Those infused gins. I don’t even drink gin! However, if we do go to Motif Restaurant, these days, the infused gins are such a lovely refreshing extra. The one in the photo above is infused with orange and pomegranate – a current favourite.
Of course there are lots of other drinks and cocktails on the Motif Restaurant menu – it’s just that the infused gin is our current little guilty pleasure.
Motif Restaurant & Eyna Hotel – Useful Information
- Motif Restaurant is along Çalış Beach, Fethiye.
- The kitchen is open for food from 12 midday to 10pm. You can’t reserve seating at the restaurant so you might need to wait for a table on busy evenings.
- As well as a full menu available all day, there is also a daytime snack menu with wraps, burgers, salads etc.
- For people with a sweet tooth, there is also a range of desserts on offer.
- Foods suitable for vegans and vegetarians are highlighted on the restaurant Facebook page.
- You can keep yourself up to date with goings on at Motif Restaurant by liking their Facebook page.
- For other ideas about where to feed and water yourself around the area, here’s a list of some of the places to eat and drink in the Fethiye area.
- You can book a room at Eyna Hotel directly through Booking.com