So you have hosted the odd barbecue in your backyard every other summer. Have you ever had one served to you on a platter in a hotel?!
That is exactly what you get when you drive up into the cool, forested hills of Kayaköy, high above the resort of Fethiye in South East Turkey. Should you feel peckish and drop into one of the local restaurants for a bite, you would be forgiven for feeling confused, even a tad intimidated, when a bed of hot coals is brought out to your table. Its called ‘Kendin Pişir, Kendin Ye’ (Cook it yourself, eat it yourself) and means exactly that. A “tableside barbecue” is brought out to you complete with burning hot coals and a grill on top. You get to order your choice of meat which you then cook yourself on your private, mini barbie. All the while sipping on ice cold beer and chatting with friends!
The restaurant we went into was recommended in a very nice article by a blog called Turkeys For Life. Boy, am I glad I read up the info on their website before heading to Fethiye.
Following the advice given in the article mentioned above, we searched out and walked into “Cin Bal”, one of the “tableside barbecue” restaurants near the famed ruins of Kayaköy. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that the place was well off the main road. A good 500 meter walk off to the side of the road leading to the ruins, down a dirt track, practically sat in the middle of nowhere in the mountainous countryside. Walking in just past noon, not knowing what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised by the cool shade of the grape vine roof overhead. Yes, you read that right, the roof above was completely made of real Grape Vines. I could even spot bunches of baby grapes hanging here and there. Ace!
Fresh vegetables & bread were on the house. The modus operandi here is that once the fresh meat is brought out, you are left to your own devices on how to cook it on the barbecue. We had a load of fun playing around with the food and ended up barbequing some of the cuts a little too much. Heh! All’s well that ends well though and we had a plateful of the choicest, juiciest meat on our hands within the hour. Yummster!
The ambience of the place was simply fantastic. Nice cool shade everywhere and very, very friendly staff. Looks like the restaurants in those hills get really busy after sunset because when we were there in the afternoon, I couldn’t see very many patrons around. Just as we were leaving, the waiters started placing “Reserved” signs on the tables, so the busiest times would be in the evenings I reckon. The best time to go there as per me would be in the afternoon/late afternoon… between 2pm and 5pm. The place is quiet, the service is top class as you’re the only customers there and you get your choice of seating. Who knows what the night time mosquitoes are like in the mountains!
Here is a travel secret video that captures the essence of our experience at Cin Bal – one of the many ‘Kendin Pişir, Kendin Ye’ (Cook it yourself, eat it yourself) restaurants in Kayaköy. Put on your headphones when you see this video and try to hear the owls in the background! …and how many times do I say the