As you will have gathered by now we were seriously impressed by, and really enjoyed, visiting Mardin – in fact we can’t wait to go back. There is a lovely han on the main street where you can drink tea in the sunshine, you can buy baggy men’s şalvar from Hasan in the bazaar, watch the donkeys clopping by and generally have a great time.
And you must eat dinner at Cercis Murat Konağı. Established about 15 years ago to ensure that traditional Syriac cuisine was not lost, Cercis Murat is on the main street in what were once two old Christian town houses with beautiful interiors.
The foyer has the usual framed citations including a photograph of Prince Charles on the restaurant’s terrace during one his visits to Turkey. HRH looks a little wary as he approaches the buffet table and you can almost hear him muttering“ But is it organic?”
Above is the meze we ate. Eight different cold starters all served in ladles balanced on a large platter – which has hollows to hold the ladles so they don’t roll about.
The photo is from the Cercis Murat website, and our version in Mardin had a bowl of a mozzarella-type cheese in the centre instead of the yoghurt you see here. The metal cups in the background are for your wine, although you can choose a glass instead if you wish.
The website is only in Turkish and focuses on the Cercis Murat branch in an upmarket suburb of Istanbul.
In Mardin not only are you eating in the original Cercis Murat in a wonderful old building, (and the view from the outdoor terrace in summer is spectacular) but it isn’t expensive. We had the meze for two shown above (20TL), and two main dishes followed by excellent coffee served with a small glass of a tart apple juice flavoured with cinnamon. The bill was 66.50TL of which 16TL was two small Efes beers.
The service and presentation were outstanding and the food was excellent too.
One thing, if you do go, book a table – we booked in February and it was packed, so you could have problems in high season.
Yet again, why don’t we have something like this in Fethiye?