Bodrum Village Breakfast
Updated: Dec 18, 2017
While you’re on a villa holiday on the Bodrum Peninsula, you may fancy breakfast out one morning. It’s an pretty unlikely brunch place/café/restaurant, there’s dirt floors, home to a horde of pecking chickens, the furnishings are eclectic to say the least; some plastic chairs, some extravagant Louis XIV style chairs picked up in the local second hand shop, a couple of benches with bank advertising and the shady pergola is hung with dried gourds.
Welcome to Havva Hanim’s Breakfast spot; this is an area much frequented by Istanbul’s high society yet tucked away in the back of one of Yalıkavak’s distinctive villages is a breakfast setting where life is simple, natural and fresh – not to mention filled with animals! Havva Hanım’s Breakfast is located in the quiet Aegean village of Gökçebel on the outskirts of Yalıkavak, not far from Bodrum. Serving breakfast specials like hand-picked garden tomatoes, creamy white cheese, village flat bread and warm zucchini flower dolma, one soon gets an idea of Turkish village life.
Havva Acar and her family own a small house with a large garden, plenty of chickens and a cow on a lead, in Gökçebel, a five minutes’ drive from Yalıkavak. Selling tomatoes and other vegetables in addition to dairy products from their cow, visitors to the area, through word of mouth, began hearing about Havva’s produce. Whilst waiting for their milk and tomatoes, Havva Hanim would offer clients a slice of börek and a tea. A few years later, along with her husband, son and with the help of relatives and other village ladies, they started to offer a fixed price breakfast inside their own garden.
Havva’s place might be difficult to find but that’s its beauty! Upon parking, one is greeted by a dog (with a blue earring – a sign that the municipality has given it the necessary shots!), the chickens and you may see the cow ambling by. Walking into the simple, shady and lush garden and sitting on one of the wobbly chairs, one truly feels this is an authentic rural establishment. Havva Hanim is always busy cooking in front of the open fire or rolling the dough on a wooden platter for the börek and gözleme.
Havva Hanim’s husband Salih Bey, takes the place of Maître d’, head waiter and full time bus boy; one by one the traditional Turkish breakfast items arrive at the table; the ripe and exceptionally juicy tomatoes picked from the garden below; rich butter made from their own cows’ milk; creamy white cheeses; plump olives; jams made from whatever is in season; pink quince, golden apricot, mountain strawberry and all of this is accompanied by the homemade flat-bread pide cooked in front of your eyes on the open fire. It’s not over yet, Havva’s most popular dish is warm zucchini flower dolma. The small summer-squash dolma are cooked daily in the morning by Havva and have a savoury rice filling and then there’s gözleme – the ubiquitous Turkish pancake of thin dough filled with white cheese and spinach.
After a while, and you do need a while, börek- crispy golden topped cheese filled filo pastry – is presented to the table by Havva herself, who asks everyone individually if they are enjoying the food. Later, a choice of eggs – omelette, sunny-side-up or hard-boiled; and no Turkish breakfast is complete without lashings of Turkish tea, served in small glasses with no milk. All this in a wonderful village atmosphere costs 25 Turkish Lira per head.
Although the location is a bit difficult to find, Havva’s is well worth the trek. Popular especially among the city folks vacationing in the area, this simple breakfast house hosts about 20-25 people a day. Call to make a reservation ahead as Havva and the family prepare the night before according to the number of reservations. Breakfast starts at about 10.00am and runs through until 1.00 pm., open daily throughout the summer months and weekends only early and later in the year.