Bektaşoğlu, who was born in Trabzon, is the operator of Taka Karadeniz Mutfağı where the unique flavors of the Black Sea cuisine are served.
Bektaşoğlu, explaining that they work together as 4 brothers in their Konya and Ankara branches, said that the adventure began in 1985 with his older brother Zekeriya Bektaşoğlu, who started the business by serving pita and Akçaabat meatballs, and continues today by presenting their guests almost a complete Black Sea Cuisine. Refik Bektaşoğlu says that their guests leaving the restaurant happy is their priority.
Focusing on local flavors
Following their first branch in Konya, Taka Karadeniz Mutfağı has been serving in Söğütözü in Ankara since June 2014. The place has become one of Ankara’s most popular stops with its decoration, tranquil atmosphere, local specialties, and successful examples of the Black Sea Cuisine.
Refik Bektaşoğlu said that they care about the taste of fish and food as well as the naturalness of their products. He said, “Konya, where we opened our first branch, is a very rich city in terms of local delicacies. It took us a few years to get the Black Sea cuisine loved there, but then we became very popular there. The number of seafood products, which was 3 or 4 at the beginning, climbed up to 15 in time. What we value most was the naturalness and flavor of our dishes. It is very important for us to see our guests leave happy.”
Bektaşoğlu explains the most preferred specialties of Taka Karadeniz Mutfağı as follows: “Our kale soup, seafood soup, guymak, anchovy (fried/grilled), sea bass skewers, and Taka style white bean stew attract great attention. However, our Laz pastry and Hamsiköy rice pudding are among our most popular desserts. The secret to our flavor is using all-natural and quality products and having them meet with a master in the kitchen. We renew our menu seasonally, but we do not change our main structure at all.”
A disciplined and systematic structure
Refik Bektaşoğlu said that they are working with an experienced team of 80. He gives the following information about how they start the day and the preparation processes in the restaurant: “We race against time when it comes to seafood. Having the fish that is caught in the morning brought to the table at noon without being frozen or shocked can only be possible through a disciplined and systematic process management. White bean stew is put into the oven at 8.00 am and slow-baked for 4 hours. Then, at 8.30 am, we start making kale soup. At 9.00 am our daily seafood special arrives in the shop and it is cleaned. Our team is ready for lunch at 11.30 am. Since our restaurant is located in the center of politics and business, we often welcome our senior guests from these communities. For this, we strive to work with zero error. During the day we are busy with political and business guests, and in the evenings we are preferred by families. We see very high demand on weekends. Our price policy is also very effective in this. Today, we have a great kitchen with 6 different kinds of Black Sea Pita, 15 kinds of fish, Trabzon and Rize gyro kabobs, Akçaabat meatballs, local soups, white bean stew made from carefully selected beans, and local desserts.”
YHT is at the center of his life
Refik Bektaşoğlu, who stated that High-Speed Train (YHT) was one of the most important factors in opening a branch in Ankara, said, “YHT was the determining factor for us when the idea of opening a second restaurant came up. Although there are many alternatives, we chose Ankara because it is connected with YHT line. I took out the YHT subscription card on the day we signed the contract for the space in Ankara. I did not move my house to Ankara not to spoil the unity of our family and work synchronization. I feel like at home at YHT, I have breakfast, I conduct business meetings and I can watch movies. For 6 years, I have been traveling between Ankara and Konya with an average of 330 days per year. YHT did not leave me in the process even one day. Today, we receive many offers from various provinces to open our third branch. When opening this branch, our priority criterion will be YHT access. I would like to take this opportunity to state that we are expecting all our citizens to Konya within the scope of Şeb-i Arus events to be held in December.”
Support to rural development
Emphasizing that they bring a significant portion of the products they use from the Black Sea, Bektaşoğlu said, “In this way, we support rural development in that region. We say that we should sell more kale soup, so women in the Black Sea region should also be able to make their living better. For this, we have to do our job better and have our kitchen reach to a wider audience. We have been working and we will continue to work with this awareness. We love our country. I can relieve the tiredness of the whole year in the 2 days, I spend in my hometown. I work 17 hours a day. As a country, we should work harder. Everyone should do their job properly. We love our job.”
TAKA STYLE BARBECUED ANCHOVIES RECIPE
Ingredients: 1-1.5 kilogram cleaned anchovies, 30 gram olive oil, 30 gram salad greens, 20 gram romaine lettuce, 20 gram arugula, 30 gram lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Directions: Approximately half an hour before cooking the anchovy, prepare the barbecue and calm the fire. The reason for this is to prevent the fish from burning. Place the fish on the grill and cook each side for about 2-3 minutes. When grilling on both sides, do not avoid oiling both sides. This helps the fish become more delicious and cook even better. Corn bread is the best type of bread that can be consumed alongside fish. Garnish with red onion, arugula, and half of a lemon when serving. Enjoy your meal.
PHOTOGRAPHER/AHMET SELİM KUVEL