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Pastel’s location away from the bustle of the main street of Bebek is unassuming, but step inside and the smell of butter and sugar will transport you to a small French patisserie. One wall is lined with baking cookbooks and in the corner sits a pristine glass case displaying classic French pastries such as Mont Blanc and religieuse as well as newer treats like banana-chocolate muffins. The sight is enchanting, as is the space itself. The wide tables, fancy glasses and cloth napkins make you feel as if you are in Paris, and the sweets could compete with those of French pastry chefs.
The ‘opera cake’ (an almond sponge cake with coffee-chocolate filling and icing) in particular will have you coming back for more. Pastel also offers a variety of tarts (we especially like the pineapple dacquoise), cookies, granola bars and even gluten-free muffins, as well as coffee and a variety of soft drinks.
The cakes’ elegance is matched by the white linens, nice china and teacups, an attention to detail paired with impeccable service. Beyond all of this, Pastel brings something new to Istanbul: hand-painted chocolates. Owner Yasemin Aral, a graduate of the New York French Culinary Institute who has worked in London at Claridge’s and Harrods and at the Istanbul Four Seasons, makes the chocolates herself, then picks up a brush and paints them one by one. To get your hands on one of these delights, be sure to pre-order at least a day in advance.
Pastel also offers a delivery service for those living or working nearby, and cake-ordering for special occasions. As the weather warms up, they will introduce a breakfast menu including eggs Benedict and Florentine, and croque-monsieur and croque-madame sandwiches, and extend their hours to 21.00 and offer wine and cheese in the evenings.