Former professional windsurfer Kemal Demirasal’s talents have extended to the kitchen, where since launching his first restaurant in 2007, in the town of Çesme on the Aegean coast, he has emerged as one of Turkey’s most acclaimed chefs. Now, bringing his culinary vision to Istanbul, Demirasal has opened Alancha, a two-floor eatery, designed by Alaçati-based firm Cacti Architecture, whose understated interiors successfully counteract the glossiness of the Armani Maçka Residences- the building it is housed in. Tactile woods, leathers and a wall of live greenery give life to a mainly concrete space, while low-hanging pendant lights reduce the effects of the lofty ceiling, creating a warm and intimate atmosphere. Using fresh ingredients from Demirasal’s own farm, the menu celebrates the origins of Anatolian cuisine, and features dishes such as galantine salad with lamb brain cream, a nod to Istanbul’s street food traditions, and ’yahni’, an onion stew brought form Persia to Anatolia by Alexander the Great. All food is cooked in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven, while an on-site research and development facility with a test kitchen and library allows the chefs to constantly experiment and explore new directions.