Baylan Pastanesi: A Slice of History
The roaring ’20s: Flappers in the Pera Palas Hotel were dancing the can-can, Art Deco was all the rage, the Turkish Republic was born. Hope, progress and newness-double stepped to the beat of Kemal Atatürk’s drum. This was the backdrop to which two Istanbul bakers, Filip and Yorgi, opened a whimsical chapter in the culinary story of the city. The fruit of their labor, Baylan Pastanesi, remains an honored institution, if not for the sheer excellence of its desserts then for the sweet taste of nostalgia.
And that is what you feel when you walk through the worn swinging doors of Baylan Pastanesi in the Kadıköy market. To many Istanbulites, it must be a tender reminder of the days when local places got classed up with European names (the original shop was called L’Orient) and men wore hats (the brimmed kind, not the knit ones). We felt a similar twinge breathing in the sweet smell of chocolate and the must of wet counters as we walked past the low display case of macaroons and chocolates. We could have been at classic sweets shops like Cupid’s on Chicago’s Southside or Parkside Candy in Buffalo. (Click here to read more of this archived review.)