Friday, July 29, 2011

MONK by Babylon.... "THE" place to go in Çeşme!!!

Dear readers,

Good morning! After not posting for several days - I am now back in full swing and hope to post everyday from my trip to Çeşme/Alaçatı if possible! I am on vacation so finding time can be difficult at times, but I will do my best!

My post yesterday included info on my first three days in this lovely resort town on the Aegean coast in Turkey. Today, I will give you info on what I did yesterday.

As we have been running around night and day since I arrived with my sis, brother-in-law and other friends and family - yesterday during the day we decided to relax and just stay at home. "Home" is still a beautiful big house with a swimming pool and the Ilıca Beach right across the street, so its not sooo bad to be stuck at home for a change!

In the evening, we decided to go to the Çeşme Marina once again as my nephew was coming with us and he wanted to eat at Burger King - typical 10 year-old! Also, since his dear aunt (that would be me of course) was not in Çeşme for his birthday in mid-July, so we were going to buy his birthday gift together.

We got to the Marina about 9:00pm...Arman had his dinner at his fast food haven and then we got his birthday gift from D&R and then - since we were unsure as to what time we would be having dinner - had not made a reservation anywhere,so we just walked around at first. We stopped by Wineway for a glass of - guess what - wine!!! This wine and cheese bar has a nice selection of Turkish and International wines by the bottle and a fewer selection (which changes) by the glass.ç The prices by the bottle/glass are moderate compared to restaurants. We had a glass of French Shiraz (18 TL/glass) which was very good. Unfortunately, they do not have a kitchen (due to space) - but if you'd like, you can order food from a couple of restaurants that are nearby as they will serve you at Wineway. We did not want to do this and my sister Meltem wanted to go to Monk. THANK GOD SHE DID!!!

MONK by Babylon ( is a few stores down from Wineway. It opened last season and this is the first time I had a chance to go. The spacious venue is a bar, restaurant and club with live music nightly. We sat down around 10:00pm and the minute I saw the menu, I knew we were at the right place! It was different than the rest! Having seen the "same old - same old" salads, apps and mains at other restaurants in town, this menu just pops out. You can visit their website to see the entire list. Their chef this year is the young and talented Paul Anthony, who was the chef at Shayna at Aya Yorgi last year. Take my word for it when I say he works miracles in the kitchen and is an excellent and imaginative chef.

After ordering a bottle of wine (Antares/Shiraz - 95 TL), we ordered our meal. I ordered two appetizers: Grilled Calamari Salad and Spring Roll stuffed with duck meat; my sister the grilled salmon and my brother-in-law serrano ham and melon for an appetizer and Provençal Mussels for a main course.

The band was warming up as we sat down and when our bread and olive oil dipping sauce arrived, a heavenly voice was to be heard - Della Miles. I knew we were definitely in for a treat!

Between oohing-aahing over our food - we all tried each other's dishes and the music... what can I say - it was an amazing night! Della Miles has an incredible voice - it is soft, velvety and her renditions of some of the major stars (Amy Winehouse, etc.) are a treat to listen to. She had two sets and the lovely musical night ended at around 12:30am. During her 2nd set, we ordered dessert - a lemon tart and baked pear with ice cream with lavendar essence. Do I need to tell you how good both were??? I had a chivas on the rocks, and we ordered 2 espressos and a grappa to cap off our night.

The total bill for our evening was 339 TL + tip and as there is no music cover, this is an excellent price - good company, great food, excellent music - what else can you ask for!!!

A little tired, a little tipsy and totally full, we said good night to Monk by Babylon and Della Miles as we had a chance to chat with her for a couple of minutes... she is from Texas... she appeared at Babylon in Istanbul and will hopefully appear their again in 2013... she is at Monk until July 30th and then returns to Monk to perform from August 30 - September 3. If you are in the neighborhood, I strongly recommend that you listen to her - and make reservations to be on the safe side... or you can also hang out at the bar and just have drinks - but I say - have a great meal at the same time too!

Lastly, the following is Monk's schedule through the end of August (not including Della Miles)

August 2-6           Ilhan Erşahin Trio and Burhan Öcal
August 9-13         Ilhan Erşahin Trio
August 17-20       Ayhan Sicimoğlu and Latin All Stars
August 23-27       Jozi Levi Brasil Project

All of the above bands are also very very good. Additionally, every Sunday and Monday night Havana Salsa appears. We will more than likely go to Ihan Erşahin on August 3rd - my birthday!

Monk is open daily from 5:00pm to 2:00am (Tel: (0232) 712 93 31).

A final note on Babylon... the longstanding Istanbul based live music club is probably the best internationally recognized club in Turkey. You can check out their program at They will once again open for the fall season in September.

Happy listening and eating!


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