Ali Acar, who has left behind 15 years in the dining sector, is one of the names that advances by combining his management skills and experience as a chef…
Ali Acar, who had worked in different places such as Longtable, It’s A Joke and Joke Circus, is the founding partner and the chef of Ajda, serving in Koşuyolu, İstanbul for the last 2 months. We had a chat with Acar, who has gained experience in the world cuisine, especially in the Lebanese cuisine, about Ajda’s new generation restaurant vision, which offers both delicious specialties and quality music to its guests.
A blend of different flavors
Ajda’s menu, which has recently started to serve with a special team of 20 people, is designed as a blend of the special dishes of the Lebanese, Hatay, and the Aegean cuisines. Ali Acar, co-founder and chef of Ajda, who said that every flavor is freshly prepared through local concepts from meat specialties to different appetizer alternatives, said, “We have adopted the principle of offering different tastes that our guests cannot experience elsewhere. When creating the menu, we focused on different taste combinations. We also pay special attention to our presentations. For example, we serve our fava dish with apricots. Our eggplant dish with pomegranate seeds and nuts is also a very special taste. We are also assertive with our starters.Beirut-style lahmajun, sauteed mushrooms, paçanga pastry, and liver delight are among our most preferred specialties. Among our main specialties, flavors such as şaşlık kebab, Adana kebab, chicken skewers, mixed grill, beef skewers, liver skewers on coal fire, and kokoreç in an eggplant bed are prominent. Our target audience is everyone who likes to experience different tastes and spend time in a decent environment. We have customers from various age groups. The common denominator of all is to get quality service. We offer our guests both a fixed menu and à la carte options in Ajda.”
Recipes are followed strictly
Ali Acar stated that the kitchen team strictly follows the approved recipes and that the standards for each specialty are applied exactly. Acar said, “The dimensions of the materials to be used in each specialty served in Ajda is presented with their unique flavors since they are prepared according to their specific standards and recipes. The chickpeas we use in hummus is very important. The flavor changes when a different brand of chickpeas is used. In Ajda, we also use mild cream cheese for making hummus. The yogurt we use in appetizers is also very special. We prepare the appetizer called spicy atom with fresh spinach root and we never use colorants. Kokoreç is one of the specialties that we are most assertive about. We also select the spices we use with care. Our goal is to please the eye before the mouth. The number one rule of quality service is hygiene. Our team is also extremely cautious about this. We also attach great importance to preparing these specialties in the most hygienic environments. According to the seasonal vegetables, new varieties are added to the specialties of our menu each month. There are also special desserts such as künefe, semolina halva with dates, and rice pudding with mastic.”
Vegan or vegetarian selections
Another feature that makes Ajda different is that guests can order vegan or vegetarian specials such as lentil salad, grilled vegetables, zucchini patties, and pasta as the main course during the reservation process. Acar expressed that they are working in this direction and that there will be different options on the menu in the coming period. Olive oil is brought from Antakya. Special flavors such as cumin and olive are also coming from Antakya. The meat used in the specialties served in Ajda is brought from Balıkesir and Edirne. Serving six days a week except for Mondays and accepting customers upon reservation, Ajda promises quality music and entertainment as well as delicious specialties to its target audience. The venue, which currently has a capacity of 100, will reach a capacity of 180 after autumn. Underlining that they aim to move Ajda to the Aegean, Acar said, “In 2020, our primary goal is to open the second branch in Alaçatı or Çeşme in the Aegean. Then, we are planning to open our third branch on the European side of İstanbul.”
ŞAŞLIK KEBAB RECIPE BY CHEF ALİ ACAR (serves 4)
Ingredients: 650 gram sirloin steak, 1 tbsp thyme, 200 gram cream, 1 tsp ground black pepper, 50 gram oil and 50 gram soy sauce.
Directions: The meat is marinated in this mixture for three days. Later, they are sliced about an inch thick and skewered along with pearl onions. A skewer takes about 18-20 pieces of meat. Şaşlık kebab is char grilled for about 7 minutes. The meat should be turned twice and there should be enough space between the pieces so they cook well. Şaşlık kebab is served with char grilled tomatoes and peppers. Enjoy!