With a storytelling local as a guide, Istanbul opens up to become more than its famous landmarks
I grew up in a terrace house in Portsmouth. At one end of the street was Fratton Park, where the local football team played, and at the other was the Istanbul Grill House. Only one of these venues was in the habit of providing value for money.
Between the ages of seven and 11, I’d go to the Istanbul Grill House every Saturday with my pocket money. Each time I entered, the guy who worked there would salute me theatrically and say, “Merhaba, my friend – hello, hello.” I’d give him a wink, swap some football stickers with his son then place my order. It would always be a cheeseburger. Having just got back from Istanbul – and loving that city’s range of tasty staples – I now look back on my childish routine with no small amount of regret.