Inside Istanbul’s Clove where art, fashion, gastronomy intersect

Last year, at the end of December, we tried an exciting new venue in the Istanbul dining scene. Clove, located in Markalar Meydanı at IstinyePark, is the latest project of Başak Soykan and Yaprak Baltacı in the world of food and beverage.

Clove, which narrates art, fashion and gastronomy with a natural flow, is the city’s newest meeting point where tastes, smells and memories intertwine. The ambitious kitchen of Clove is entrusted to talented chef Emre Şen, while its architecture bears the signature of Mahmut Anlar.

The kitchen of Clove is a very special place where tastes, smells, and memories mix. In addition to Mediterranean flavors that dominate Şen’s menu, there are also hints of the Far East and South America, which have been widely acclaimed since the first day.

“You don’t usually write about food and drink; why are you telling us about such a restaurant now? Moreover, how can a restaurant bring together both art and fashion under its roof? You’ve confused us a bit. You need to explain more to us,” I can almost hear some of you saying – and you’re right. Generally, restaurants that catch my attention are not my focus in writing, but this restaurant has a very special distinction.

Clove has a very creative director, Murat Türkili, whom we have known for years as the creative director of Beymen and who continues his brand under his name; you’re surprised, aren’t you, just like me, such an important figure in the fashion world became the creative director of a restaurant.

So, what does a restaurant’s creative director do? Moreover, how did Soykan and Baltacı make such a decision with what vision and decide to work with a creative director on their new project?

With these exact questions in mind, on a rainy Istanbul afternoon, I headed to Clove, a restaurant with an impressive, harmonious, fluid interior emphasizing that you are in a luxurious and ambitious restaurant where you feel at home.

The arrangement of the table, the attire of the staff inside, the paintings on the wall, the plants, the music, everything seems to be in harmony. This harmony, this non-random natural harmony, was created by Murat Türkili.

After a short while, the founders of this venue, Başak Soykan and Yaprak Baltacı, join the table one after the other, and right after them, Murat Türkili. Generally, the first question that comes to mind for these two successful entrepreneurs is: “Where did the idea of ​​working with a creative director come from?”

Soykan answers: “We don’t like ‘supposedly’ venues. We don’t like to do things just for the sake of doing them. We had a dream and carefully put together every detail to capture it. Location, architecture, landscape architecture, chef and menu, brand and brand communication, the place, and selection of art.”

“Bringing all of these together and achieving harmony, capturing integrity, required a creative director. We assembled a great team, a venue that reflects our warmth, all the harmony and warmth, the correct functioning of such different disciplines coming together, was ensured by Murat Türkili,” she continued.

“A venue where every detail, from decoration to kitchen, has been carefully thought out. It’s warm and chic, it contains art, you can experience world cuisine, and it’s suitable for both a chic evening and a lunch. There are venues from different world cuisines around it. It’s within a shopping mall, but not quite when you put all of these together, and when you design this equation, the venue where we currently feel good about ourselves emerges,” Baltacı continued.

She also added: “However, all of this couldn’t come together by chance; an overseeing mind was needed to manage this entire process, this plane, from one end to the other, and that person was our creative director, architectural arrangement, kitchen arrangement, the art part, architecture, all of these being in harmony was only possible with a creative director.”

So, how did it happen, what led to the maturation of this idea of a creative director, and how did the paths of Murat Türkili and this project intersect? Soykan answers this question, saying: “One day, for a completely different reason, we went to Murat Türkili’s studio. It was our first time visiting his showroom, and we were amazed by the showroom because every detail within the space and concept was completely harmonious, every detail was speaking to each other, everything was so harmonious.”

“As Türkili explained how the artworks inside were selected, we suddenly asked him, ‘Would you be our creative director too?’ ‘Of course,’ he said. And then we started working together. We began discussing and debating every topic and detail, but we discussed every detail, we’re glad we did it now,” she added.

“In the early days of the restaurant’s opening, a painter friend of ours visited us and said, ‘With the napkin in front of me, the painting on the wall, the details on the bar, and everything, it’s as if they’re all conversing with each other.’ This is exactly how Murat Türkili contributed to us and this restaurant. We’re glad our paths crossed with that showroom visit.”

Türkili talks about his role in the project by mentioning an installation he made with his ready-to-wear products a few years ago at the same location where the restaurant is now situated: “The point where the restaurant is now located, and where I made my installation at that time, is one of the most special points in the entire area, it’s alongside all the global brands, but it’s a bit different because it overlooks them from the terrace and from a higher perspective.”

“Even that day, I had thought that a beautiful restaurant could be opened at this point one day; everyone felt the same way. Soykan and Baltacı were also among my guests; later, this area was rebuilt from scratch about 2.5 years ago, and after that art event, we decided to embark on a journey together when they visited my showroom,” he added.

“Teams within such formations are very important; the platforms provided to creative minds for them to reflect themselves and produce the right works are crucial; it’s not just about doing the job; allowing the job to be done is also very valuable. There are ambitious venues in different parts of the world, it’s actually very valuable for these venues to catch our attention and for permission to be given to these creative teams,” he said.

He also said: “Creating within a free platform is paramount, authenticity was our cornerstone in crafting this establishment, and numerous elements here subtly embody it. While ensuring this, we drew from a myriad of different components, and everything seamlessly integrates within this flow.”

“We envisioned elements that would enrich the narrative from the outset. We now inhabit the world we envisage. In a team where debates occur yet everyone progresses harmoniously, the restaurant industry is laden with myriad intricacies. We took an aerial view of all these nuances, striving for harmony in each facet. It’s akin to stepping into a friend’s home and relishing a meal there,” he said.

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