The eater: Comedus. The regular: Selin Osmanoğlu.
We are at Comedus with Selin Osmanoğlu, the WSET3 certified writer of Veraison. In the afternoon, we all gather with glasses of wine in everyone's hand and black cheese on the plate. When we warm up and start a pleasant conversation, a gentle breeze blows through the door as more people are entering. Now, we are at one of the rare delicatessen/wine bars of Istanbul. Where are you a regular? What are the reasons that this lasts?
What does it mean for you to be a regular at a place? When do you say 'OK, I am a regular now'?
Being a regular of a place seems to me to be a state of keeping a few emotions alive and holding on to a place both intellectually and de facto. You love an emotion and you try to keep it alive by putting people, sometimes objects, sometimes a smell or colours around it. For me, regularity comes from a basic feeling: trust. I feel safe in the places where I am a regular.
When I say 'OK, I'm a regular now', is when it gives me the feeling of 'being at home'. When I go to places where I am a regular, the very familiar feeling of going home keeps coming to me. When I open the door, it is as if the door of my home opens. And when the first plate is placed in front of me, I say 'OK!', 'We're sitting at the table.' I always feel this way whether I am alone or with someone else. All 5 senses are active. The eyes are looking for the same colours, the ears want to hear the same sounds, the smell memory has no difficulty, I want to spend time tasting the same taste, touching the same table. No matter who I share the table with, the conversation flows more easily, I feel more myself. That's why I attribute it to the feeling of trust.
How long have you been a regular at Comedus and why here?
Actually, I have not been a regular at Comedus for a very long time; after the pandemic, I started coming here a lot. But, a lot. I am a wine lover, and this place is a wine paradise. My first reason for coming here was my love of wine. The cheese and charcuterie are always very good. Then I got to know the people here, the conversation progressed and I became a regular. Why here? You might expect the answer to the question to be the wine, but it's not; it's the people. I mean it when I say regular, I spend a lot of time here, and I miss it if I don't.
If you are going to Comedus, it is very likely that you will see me inside, or you will hear me entering the door by saying 'Arzuuuuuuu!' That's exactly what I love. I love exchanging a few words with Arzu, listening to endless stories from Mr. Mustafa, and not being surprised to bump into Selçuk, who was probably here.
I love it when Şener comes with red roses during a conversation on the doorstep, and when I ask 'Shall we have dinner at Aheste?' I love the sweet regret of wishing we had opened a bottle as we have our third glass.
Is there anything you always order that we can call Selin's speciality?
The black cheese! It's my favourite cheese here. Whoever I go with or whoever I see, I say 'Have you tried this cheese?' I don't have a special menu, I usually go with the question 'Am I hungry or not?' I find the answer with olive oil, bread and the black cheese. There is no single wine that I say 'The evening won't go by without it!' but after a certain point, it seems like the door's always open to Akın Gürbüz Blend 1.
What are the things you always find here and what are the things you can't find here?
The feeling of curiosity that comes as soon as I step through the door never goes away. 'I wonder if the new wine has arrived? What should I drink?' and not being able to decide even after I have looked at the shelf for 10 minutes. There is nothing I can't find here. Maybe some space because it's a small place. But I wouldn't want it to get bigger. It's nice because it's small.