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Friday, February 11, 2011

Big Breakfast of the Week 5: Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul



After our rather disappointing breakfast in Ankara we were hoping for something rather better in Istanbul and we were not disappointed.

Triple P's hotel, the Palazzo Donizetti, was a small boutique hotel and breakfast was served in the cellar in a function room rather than a proper room.  Fortunately, Agent Triple P's friend B was staying across the road in the Pera Palace (which is undoubtedly where Triple P will stay next time). 

The Pera Palace was where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Orient Express and the new (the hotel has just been completely refurbished) restaurant there (called, inevitably, Agatha's) was where Triple P and B had a leisurely breakfast on the Saturday morning.




The hotel was built in 1892 specifically for passengers using the Orient-Express and the interiors have been beautifully restored.  Sadly, they have moved the restaurant from the original and splended dining room  to a tucked away location downstairs.  The original dining room is still there but is now a function room.  They did the same thing a few years ago at Triple P's favourite hotel in Toronto, the King Edward; moving the restaurant from a splendid, period room full of magnificent Edwardian plasterwork to a horrible windowless room behind the lobby. As a result we stopped staying there. Fortunately, Triple P managed to sneak into the Pera Palace's orignal dining room and take a picture which gives an excellent idea of what it would have been like as a dining room in its heyday.


The former dining room today


The new restaurant does, at least, have windows but it doesn't have the character of, say, the Orient bar upstairs.  Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable place for breakfast and, we have to say the service was excellent (as it was elsewhere in the hotel).   The dining room is split into two with breakfast beeing served in the part where the kitchen is visible.  Triple P also had lunch there and that was out in the main restaurant which was more formal.


View of the kitchen from the breakfast part of the restaurant


Our tea was regularly  replaced with fresh pots without the sort of delay you often experience in hotels if you are not having coffee.  Triple P's fried eggs were cooked to order and then he added some things from the buffet: hash browns, bacon, strange but delicious sausages, mushrooms (cooked with peppers-not ideal) and a grilled tomato with the inevitable cheese topping.  Mustard was supplied on request, again, very quickly; there is nothing worse than your breakfast getting cold whilst they fetch the mustard.

All in all we would happily give it a 7/10 (at least one point was for the service).

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